Dix calls for return of student grants

NDP leader Adrian Dix visited a college campus Monday to call on the B.C. government to reinstate the student grant program it canceled in 2004.

NDP leader Adrian Dix listens as Camosun College faculty association president Bronwen Welch describes financial hardships of students.

VICTORIA – NDP leader Adrian Dix visited a college campus Monday to call on the B.C. government to reinstate the student grant program it canceled in 2004.

B.C. was spending $80 million a year on grants to top up the federal-provincial student loan program, and an NDP government would reinstate a minimum tax on financial institutions to fund $100 million worth of grants per year, Dix said.

Flanked by Camosun College students and local MLAs, Dix acknowledged that his announcement was to have formed part of an election campaign prepared for this fall. With the next B.C. election now put off to May 2013, Dix encouraged Premier Christy Clark to adopt his policy now to relieve debt that he said now averages $27,000 for B.C. post-secondary grads.

Clark is set to announce a job growth plan next week, with a series of announcements around the province culminating with a speech Sept. 22 to the Vancouver Board of Trade. That plan is expected to include employment training assistance.

Dix made a similar promise when running for leadership of the B.C. NDP this spring. Monday he had few other details, which he said would have to be worked out with post-secondary institutions based on previous grant programs.

“My own view is that being 10th in Canada in student grants, doubling tuition fees, and having the highest debt loads for students is not the direction we need to be going when we’re asking young people and needing young people to get access to the very education they need to fill the jobs of the future,” Dix said.

Camosun College faculty association president Bronwen Welch joined Dix for the announcement. She said she sees students who can’t afford a $100 textbook for her English literature classes and still make their rent, because of tuition and other costs.

“What I don’t understand is at this point, why are people not rioting in the streets?” Welch said. “This is an investment in our future, this is not a cost.”

The B.C. Liberals say average tuition paid in B.C. last year was $4,802, fourth lowest in Canada, and average student debt is third lowest.

Just Posted

Three UBC Okanagan students awarded women in tech scholarships

Computer science and math students hope the award will inspire others

Missing Kelowna woman, Cassy Miller found dead

Miller went missing Nov. 6 and was found 10 days later

Rockets break four game losing streak in Edmonton

The Rockets defeated the Oil Kings 3-1

Okanagan Floral Design students create elaborate Christmas arrangements

The students are making the floral arrangements as part of the Homes for the Holidays tour

Reduce, reuse, recycle: Repair cafes gaining popularity in Kelowna

The Regional District of the Central Okanagan’s cafe was held at Okanagan College Saturday

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

South region forestry workers nearly in legal strike position

Talks broke down between USW and IFLRA, resulting in booking out of provincial mediator

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact political environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom (updated)

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Most Read