Budget 2007 won't help students or post-secondary
"At a time when we need to make post-secondary education more affordable and accessible and we have the budget surplus to achieve those goals, Premier Campbell has squandered the opportunity to make that happen," said Cindy Oliver, President of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators (FPSE) which represents more than 10,000 faculty and staff in BC's post-secondary education system.
"Per-student funding has actually declined by .03% in this budget," Oliver added. "If you look at the three-year plan, the picture doesn't get any better. Over the three years projected in the service plan, per-student funding increases by about 1.3% per year. Inflation over that same period, according to the budget document, will increase by 2.0%. In real terms, the post-secondary education system is falling behind," Oliver noted.
"A real shocker for thousands of post-secondary students is that financial aid for students has been cut by about $23 million," Oliver said. "If you are going to improve access and affordability, you don't do it by cutting financial assistance to struggling post-secondary students," Oliver added.
"The government's fiscal choices also don't square with what most British Columbians believe are important," said Oliver. "In a January 2007 provincial poll by Mustel Group, almost 60% of British Columbians said they would rather see investments in post-secondary education rather than a cut in personal tax rates. What's in this budget? A cut in personal income tax rates. Clearly, this budget is out of step with what most citizens want," Oliver said.
"There's no question that BC can well afford to invest more in post-secondary education. Low-balling revenue estimates combined with bloated forecast allowances have been used to justify spending less on critical public services like post-secondary education. Our province deserves better," Oliver concluded.
Read the FPSE 2007 Budget Backgrounder here.
The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.