Students send Valentines to Premier Horgan requesting an investment in grants ahead of the provincial budget release

For immediate release
February 11, 2020

Kamloops—Ahead of the provincial budget being released this month, students all across BC are sending valentines to call on the BC government to invest in an up-front need-based grants program.

BC is the only province without a comprehensive student grant program or non-repayable loans. While tuition fees have more than doubled since 2001, financial assistance options for students and their families have been reduced to little more than student loans.

“BC has the lowest amount of non-repayable financial assistance in Canada, and without a comprehensive grants program, many students and their families carry large amounts of debt before even getting a start on life,” said Kole Lawrence, Vice President External of the TRU Students Union. “Creating a grants program in BC would ensure that students and their families with lower income levels have the same opportunities for education here as in other provinces.”

Student loan debt in BC is nearly $4.5 billion, and the average student loan debt after a four-year degree is over $30,000. An up-front, need-based grants program would not only increase access to college and university education, it would also enhance completion rates amongst students with loan debt. Currently in BC, there are some measures to help students such as education tax credits and loan forgiveness programs, but these measures are not targeted towards students with the greatest need and often only provide assistance after graduation.   

“Recent public opinion polling shows that 89% of Kamloops residents support the creation of an up-front needs-based system of financial aid for BC students,” said Lawrence. “Although programs like education tax credits may help those who graduate, it does not effectively reduce the financial burdens students face throughout their studies.”

The TRU Students Union in partnership with the BC Federation of Students, has advocated for a student grant program for over a decade. Their current campaign Grants not Loans calls on the government to reallocate funds to establish a comprehensive grants program that better supports students in BC. 

The BC Federation of Students represents over 170,000 students at 15 universities, colleges, and institutes in every region of BC. Together, these students advocate for a well-funded system of post-secondary education in BC that is affordable and accessible for all students.

For more information, please contact: 

Kole Lawrence
Vice President External
Leif Douglass
Campaigns Coordinator