Student debt burden too much to bear

By misleading the public about education funding, the provincial government is negatively impacting this and future generations.

To the Editor,

Re: Students protest debt with mock ceremony, Feb. 24

Newly appointed Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson is quoted espousing the affordability of B.C.’s post-secondary system.

Here are some facts that more honestly reflect the B.C. government’s record on education.

According to B.C. Stats, about 50 per cent of students incur debt to attend university or college. The Bank of Montreal has done additional research and it found that on average, B.C. students graduate with over $35,000 of debt. Tuition fees at Vancouver Island University have increased by over 300 per cent since 2001. That means that since this government first took office, students have been forced to endure tuition fee increases that outstrip inflation by nearly 10 times.

By misleading the public about education funding and affordability, the provincial government is negatively impacting this and future generations of British Columbians. Student debt is at an all-time high, funding continues to fall, and underemployment or unemployment is the norm for people leaving school to enter the workforce.

Students are simply asking for leadership from the B.C. government, to secure a future in our province that includes opportunity for future generations.

Patrick BarbosaVIU Students’ Union