Students across Canada participated in a day of action protest on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012, to bring attention to the funding crisis in post-secondary education along with the detrimental effects of skyrocketing tuition fees and student debt.
Students from 24 campuses across British Columbia also took part in the Canadian Federation of Students’ national day of action, including those at Thompson Rivers University. The protest was a coordinated effort regarding the record high costs of public post-secondary education and was geared to mobilize support for reducing tuition fees and student debt.
“Students and our families are fed up with government inaction,” said Zach Crispin, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-British Columbia. “Post-secondary education should be a positive experience and a ladder out of poverty, not a debt sentence.”
The biggest financial barrier to education only got bigger this year in B.C. Tuition fees have climbed over $4,800 at B.C. universities, according to Statistics Canada. For the tenth consecutive year tuition fees in British Columbia have increased, increasing the cost of a degree by more than $10,000.
Without a provincial grants program since 2005, average student debt in British Columbia is nearly $27,000 after a four year program. With compound interest over a ten-year repayment period, that figure balloons to $34,000.
“A system of student loans places an unfair burden on low income and marginalized students by making them pay more for their education. This underscores the pressing need to reduce tuition fees and restore the B.C. grants program,” said Crispin.
Last week, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives published a study showing that post-secondary graduates pay more than the full cost of their education in taxes after graduation. This means that students and their families are overcharged for post-secondary education and tuition fees are unnecessary.
The Canadian Federation of Students-BC is composed of students from 16 post-secondary institutions in BC. Post-secondary students in Canada have been represented by the Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organizations since 1927