DIX SUPPORTED IN CALL FOR RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF NEEDS-BASED GRANT PROGRAM
KAMLOOPS - On Monday, B.C. New Democrat leader Adrian Dix met with faculty and students at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops where he was supported in his call for the Liberal government to re-establish a needs-based grant program for post-secondary students.
“Ensuring access to advanced education must be a cornerstone of any economic growth and jobs plan for the province. Ten years of tuition increases and the elimination of grants by the Liberals has made pursuing higher education increasingly difficult, especially for students from low- and middle-income households. Restoring grants is key to improving accessibility, supporting young people and building a more prosperous economic future,” said Dix.
Dix explained that the non-repayable grant program – eliminated by the Liberals in the 2004-05 fiscal year – should be financed through reinstating a minimum tax on financial institutions.
Jason Brown, TRU faculty president, commentedon how the New Democrat grant proposal will benefit students and help close skills gaps, that if unresolved, will undermine the region's economic competitveness.
The TRU Student Union also applauded the announcement. Vice President External Jordan Harris said that the student union has been calling for the reinstatement of a needs-based grants system for a number of years now.
“A grants program will both help those who can't afford to get into the system and those who are already in the system but struggling with rising costs. It is a great announcement for students,” said Harris.
The group has been pressing the case to the provincial government that needs-based grants not only reduce the upfront barriers of post secondary education, but also improve the likelihood of student completion.
“Many occupations require graduate studies or professional certification, in addition to a bachelor's degree. However, many potential students don't even start post-secondary education because of the prospect of debt, and they can be forced to stop mid-course because of the debt accumulated during their first years of study. There is a clear inverse relationship between a student’s debt level and their likelihood of completing post-secondary education,” explained Nathan Lane, Executive Director of the TRU Student Union.