2011 BC Budget: Post-Secondary Education Losing Ground with Stand Pat Budget
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.
VICTORIA: -"The political stalemate that the BC Liberals have created in BC means critical services like post-secondary education are being left behind," said Cindy Oliver, President of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators. "The Minister's so-called status quo budget leaves chronic funding of BC's public post-secondary education institutions effectively unchanged, 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. Although the budget documents show that per-student operating grants to public post-secondary institutions will increase by 1.8% from $9,151 in 2010/11 to $9,317 in 2011/12, that increase is still less than the overall rate of inflation. This simply continues the trend that has seen real per-student operating grants decline by over 8% since 2001. This decline 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.
"The budget documents also show the trend line in their fiscal strategy continues to move in a regressive direction," said Oliver. "Although corporate tax revenues in 2011 are slightly ahead of total tuition fee revenues, the three year budget plan shows that tuition fees revenues will climb over the next three years while corporate tax revenues decrease, a move that undermines the right of every student to affordable post-secondary education in our province," Oliver added.
"This budget raises some serious questions about the government's credibility on budget issues. The Finance Minister has produced a number of budgets in the last three years in which his projections have been wildly off the mark, leaving many to question the reliability of his current estimates. We need to have more confidence in BC's budget making process, however these documents don't do a lot to build that confidence," Oliver concluded.You can see the 2011 BC Budget Backgrounder here.