For immediate release
Tuesday, February 13, 2024
SUVCC Joins Students’ Unions and Coalition Partners Across BC to Call on Premier Eby to Deliver for Students and Address Critical Systemic Issues Facing the Post-Secondary Sector
VANCOUVER BC — In a united effort to address the critical challenges facing the post-secondary education sector in British Columbia, students’ unions and coalition partners representing diverse sectors have penned an open letter to Premier Eby, urging immediate action to prevent the collapse of the province’s post-secondary institutions.
The open letter, titled “We Can Do Better for Students: Our Vision for a Post-Secondary Education System that Delivers for Students and Communities in BC,” underscores the urgent need for government intervention to rectify systemic issues that plague the sector, the effects of which are likely to be exacerbated following the Federal government’s two-year cap on international study permits.
“We’re at a point where a band-aid approach is no longer enough. This is a golden opportunity for the provincial government to work together with stakeholders and institutions to provide real, long-term solutions,” said Ravneek Singh, Chairperson of SUVCC. “We need to act now and choose a path forward that prioritizes the needs of students and the ability for institutions to provide quality education and services.
For many years, student advocates have warned about the precarity created by the overreliance on international student tuition fees as a revenue source for BC’s institutions and called for the government to commit annual funding to the sector to relieve the reliance on tuition fees and return the government as the main source of operational funding.
The open letter also outlines the concerns of students, which include the fear that international student tuition fees and ancillary fees will continue to rise and vital services students rely on will be cut as a result of the additional pressures the loss in revenue will place on the already cash-strapped public post-secondary sector.
“Vancouver Community College has become alarmingly dependent on International Tuition. We have seen it rise from 10% of total revenue in 2018 to 38% of total revenue in 2023. This is an enormous change in a few short years,” said Singh. “Our post-secondary system needs to serve the needs of our communities, and be a tool to create a flexible, adaptable workforce. Our five calls to action are crucial to making this a reality.
The open letter calls on the provincial government to undertake the following immediate actions:
- Cap international student tuition fee increases at 2% annually.
- Release a plan on how international study permits will be distributed to institutions in BC.
- Complete the Post-Secondary Funding Formula Review and determine gaps in government funding, in particular for regional colleges and universities.
- Develop a funding model that provides long-term financial stability for institutions, delivers quality education and services for students, and does not rely on student tuition fees as the main source of funding.
- Invest in BC’s public post-secondary institutions to ensure post-secondary education is affordable, accessible and that the province is able to produce the skilled workers needed in the labour force.
The letter, which is signed by 22 organizations that represent more than 280,000 students, stakeholders and allies across British Columbia, ends with a formal invitation to Premier Eby to become a leader in the fight for a more affordable and accessible post-secondary system that delivers for British Columbians.
Stefan Nielsen, Organizer Advocacy & Governance email@example.com