Minister defends post-secondary funding

British Columbia is keeping post-secondary education affordable for students, families and taxpayers

The statements about post-secondary education in British Columbia that were published in the Feb. 3 Saanich News need to be set straight.

British Columbia is keeping high-quality post-secondary education affordable for students, families and taxpayers through a range of programs and supports.

According to Statistics Canada, the average annual undergraduate tuition in British Columbia is $5,305 in 2015-16, making it the fourth lowest in the country and represents a 12 per cent increase from 2004-05. The two per cent annual tuition increase limit has been in place since 2005.

Approximately 70 per cent of all eligible public post-secondary students do not make use of B.C. government student loans.

According to a 2014 survey of more than 8,000 B.C. students by BC Stats, graduates who accessed government student loans throughout their studies had a median debt of $20,000. Student loans are interest free until students complete their studies.

A post-secondary education offers a great return on investment whether it is a diploma, trade or degree. For example, British Columbians with an undergraduate post-secondary degree can expect to earn an additional $827,000 over their lifetime.

Andrew Wilkinson

Minister of Advanced Education