Dear Premier Horgan,
Enclosed are Valentine’s Day cards from 120 students at the College of New Caledonia. For years we and our families have had our hearts broken by governments who have taken away financial aid and allowed the costs of education to skyrocket. Your government has taken steps to increase access to post-secondary through measures such as eliminating tuition fees for adult basic education and English language learning, and eliminating interest on BC student loans. For these things we thank you.
However, BC remains the only province in Canada that has neither a comprehensive up-front student grant program nor non-repayable loans. This means that while tuition fees and living costs continue to rise, BC students accrue some of the highest debt levels in the country. For over a decade the BC Federation of Students has been calling for the reinstatement of the BC Student Grant Program as a way to level the playing field for students from low- and middle-income backgrounds.
Students are hopeful that this is our year. We hope that the 2020 BC Budget will include the creation of an up-front, needs-based student grant program. Reducing the debt that students and our families are forced to take on – even to access trades and diploma programs, let alone four-year degrees and beyond – will open doors for countless people.
Happy Valentine’s Day Premier Horgan, we look forward to next week’s Budget.
Navjot Singh Brar
Chairperson of the College of New Caledonia Students’ Union