Funding for post-secondary institutions, students

Post-secondary students have raised issues around student loans and grants and increased funding to post-secondary institutions.

Here are the facts on post-secondary institution and student funding in British Columbia:

* The Province has limited tuition increases at public institutions to two per cent per year since 2005 – to ensure post-secondary education in B.C. is affordable for both students and taxpayers.

* According to Statistics Canada, this year’s increase was 50 per cent less than the Canadian average (four per cent). This is the fifth straight year that B.C.’s tuition increase has remained below the national average increase.

* In the last year, B.C.’s tuition increase worked out to less than $90 a year for the average university student and less than $60 a year for college students. This is the equivalent of buying one less cup of coffee each week.

* Students pay less than one-third of the actual cost of a post-secondary education.

* B.C. has developed programs that provide the most benefits to students who finish their studies – either reducing or forgiving their loans, making it easier for graduates to get out of debt faster.

* In 2009-10, the Province forgave or reduced the loans for more than 22,000 students and provided more than $250 million (in loans, grants and loan reduction) to students accessing financial aid.

* As well, 37 per cent of all B.C. student loan dollars awarded were converted to non-repayable aid through the B.C. Loan Reduction Program.

* This year, the Province is spending $534 million in operating funding for post-secondary institutions in B.C. – exactly the same as last year’s overall funding.

* Since 2001, B.C. has expanded the post-secondary system by more than 33,000 seats, increased the number of universities by seven and invested more than $2 billion in capital and infrastructure – making the system more accessible and more affordable than ever before.