2010 BC Budget: Funding fails to fill growing gap

VICTORIA: "Instead of building a legacy, this budget fails to address a growing problem in post-secondary education in BC," said Cindy Oliver, President of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators. "Operating grants for BC's public post-secondary education institutions remain effectively unchanged as a result of this budget, despite the fact that BC urgently needs to increase access and opportunities for citizens wanting to start or complete a post-secondary education," Oliver added.

"The funding problems in post-secondary education are most glaring when you consider how the numbers add up on a per-student basis. Between 2009 and 2011, per-student operating grants to public post-secondary institutions fall by 0.6 per cent. That decline doesn't even take into account the impact of inflation which means our post-secondary institutions are being forced to reduce access, programs and services at a time when all three should be increasing," Oliver stressed.

"What's particularly shocking in this budget is the hefty burden that post-secondary students must carry in higher tuition fees. This budget continues a trend that was put in play by this government several years ago when it became obvious that post-secondary tuition fee revenues were poised to surpass corporate tax revenues. The budget documents tabled today confirm that fact. In 2010, tuition fee revenues will exceed corporate tax revenue by almost $300 million," said Oliver.

"This budget also shows that the BC Liberals' overall fiscal strategy is failing to produce the much-hyped economic traction that they have promised over the last decade. Corporate tax cuts have not produced the revenue benefits to the BC treasury that were the justification for these tax measures in the first place. The Minister celebrates the "record low" corporate tax rates that BC has currently, but won't acknowledge that those measures are effectively being paid by the thousands of post-secondary students who have seen their tuition fees skyrocket over that same period," Oliver concluded.

For more information, please contact Phillip Legg, 604-873-8988.

About FPSE

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.