MLAs Call on Govt to Reduce Student Debt

After several months of deliberation, hundreds of written submissions and public hearings held in more than 15 communities across BC, the BC Legislature’s Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services released its 2014 report last week. Among its recommendations, the Committee called on government to take decisive action on student debt.

“The Committee sees a need to improve post-secondary accessibility,” the report concluded. To this end, the Committee recommended that the BC Government create a provincial system of grants, investigate ways to reduce interest on student loans, and enhance funding for adult basic education.

“This is a huge victory for post-secondary students in BC,” said Katie Marocchi, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-British Columbia (CFS-BC). “These recommendations are a direct result of our members taking a unified message to committee hearings across the province, and it is now up to the government to take swift and decisive action to reverse educated related debt.”

The Committee’s recommendations on post-secondary education included five of the six proposals in the CFS-BC’s submission to the pre-budget hearings. The Committee also heard from several students and educators across the province about the need for urgent action to reduce BC’s high tuition fees and increase core funding.

“While the primary cause of student debt -tuition fees—is not addressed in the recommendations, the Committee’s 2014 report is an important first step to making post-secondary education more affordable to all British Columbians,” said Marocchi.

The Canadian Federation of Students-BC is composed of students from 15 post-secondary institutions across every region of BC. Post-secondary students in Canada have been represented by the Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organizations since 1927.