2015 BC Budget Underwhelms as Post-Secondary Education Funding Forecast to Decline
“On so many fronts, this budget is a real disappointment,” said Cindy Oliver, President of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators. “For our colleges, universities and institutes, the provincial operating grants will decline from 2015 to 2016. That’s a bleak comment on how much the provincial government is prepared to invest in the future of our province,” Oliver noted.
“The budget documents show that total operating grants will go from $1.846 billion in 2014-15 to $1.832 billion in 2015-16,” Oliver added. “Just as disconcerting is the estimate for student enrolments; the Ministry of Advanced Education is forecasting a decline in overall enrollments from a total of 207,050 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) in 2013-14 to 201,256 FTEs in 2015-16. At a time when the government stresses the importance of skills, training and advanced education in its Jobs Plan, it is forecasting a drop in post-secondary education enrolments as well as a decline in provincial funding,” Oliver stressed.
“The only number forecast to increase in the post-secondary education budget is tuition fee revenue. The budget documents estimate that tuition fee revenues will increase from $1.539 billion in 2014-15 to $1.742 billion by 2017, an increase of more than 13%. It’s worth noting as well that when the current government first took office in 2001, tuition fee revenues in BC were approximately $450 million. The almost four-fold increase in tuition fee revenues have made affordable access to post-secondary education in BC harder and harder for today’s students. Those kinds of financial barriers are working at odds with the government’s Jobs Plan priorities for improving skills and learning opportunities,” Oliver concluded.
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.