Wednesday July 13, 2011

BC Politics

The Hard Truth About Student Debt

BC NDP Leader Dix says student poverty levels at an all-time high

Submitted by office of the BC NDP


dvanced Education Minister Naomi Yamamoto thinks that “student debt is a really good debt to assume” (July 8, 2011 Kelowna Buzz). Yamamoto needs to take a closer look at what the BC

 Liberal government has done to the post-secondary funding formula since taking office in 2001.

TUITION DOUBLED: Tuition fees have more than doubled since the B.C. Liberals took office. Underfunding of trades and apprenticeship training has meant long waiting lists despite a looming trades shortage in the province.

SOARING DEBT LEVELS: Student debt levels are among the very highest in the country, averaging $27,000 for a four-year program. According to Minister Yamamoto, this accumulation of debt is "good."

HIGH INTEREST RATES: At 2.5 per cent above prime, B.C. students are forced to pay the highest interest rates in Canada.

TREATING STUDENTS AS CASH-COWS: Minister Yamamoto says the B.C. Liberal government borrows money for student loans at prime minus one per cent, but then it turns around and charges students prime plus 2.5 per cent, deliberately profiting off students.

LACK OF FINANCIAL AID: Under the Liberals, British Columbia became the only province in the country to eliminate their needs-based grant program. British Columbia currently provides the least amount of non-repayable student aid in the country. This contributes to high debt levels.

STUDENT POVERTY RATES AT ALL-TIME HIGH: Campus food banks are reporting high usage as a result of increasing student poverty. Youth unemployment is increasing at twice the rate of the general population.

Adrian Dix and B.C.'s New Democrats believe that investments are needed in post-secondary education in order for our economy to flourish and for British Columbia to compete globally.

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