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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thank you Lake Country paramedics

We are all in this together: COVID-19

Cougar caught on camera in Lake Country

A Lake Country resident caught a cougar prowling near their home

Dry March causes modest increases to Okanagan snowpack

The Okanagan region increased from 115 per cent of normal snowpack to 116 per cent

Rockets’ Pavel Novak cracks central scouting list for upcoming NHL draft

Novak is ranked No. 85 on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters

YMCA Okanagan offers care for children of essential service workers

Priority will be given to children aged 5 to 12 years old

WATCH: Kelowna choir members sing together virtually

UpStage Kelowna Show Choir wanted to sing together, even if it’s in video form

COVID-19 world update: 6.6 million U.S. jobless claims; alcohol sales banned in Bangkok

Comprehensive digest of coronavirus news items from around the world

LEGO – it’s not just for children anymore

All in all it’s just another brick in the wall

Smiles, honks and waves as teachers stage parade for their students

Classrooms are closed, but kids and teachers manage to connect

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

Summerland winery sold for $5.2 million

Property overlooking Okanagan Lake was on the market 160 days

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

COVID-19: B.C. students describe life during pandemic

Most teens wonder what the future will be like after COVID-19

Most Read