TRU students are shouldering the financial burden
caused by funding cuts to universities in BC.
At our first Open the Doors Campaign Days of Action event of 2017, we asked students to fill out a brief survey. The goal of the survey was to gauge how the funding squeeze in post-secondary education in BC was being felt by our students here at TRU. In total, 150 students completed the survey, which was made available during our event and online until February 14th. The results of the survey are clear and worrisome.
Our first question demonstrated that a staggering 97% of TRU students asked are concerned about money.
When asked about student loans and debt associated with the costs of post-secondary education, 63% of TRU students said that they were accruing debt to ensure their education.
Tuition was, by far the greatest financial worry for students who mentioned not being able to save enough with summer jobs to pay for their tuition. However, the high cost of living in Kamloops, including rent, food and transportation, were also a considerable concern for participating TRU students. Textbooks were a concern for just over half of the TRU students.
Unemployment, groceries, other fees, parking and other debts were some of the issues TRU students identified as other financial worries.
When asked about solutions to the current funding squeeze, the surveyed TRU students overwhelmingly supported increasing provincial funding for post-secondary education. They feel the effects of underfunding in their lives and know that sustainable, appropriate levels of provincial government funding would have tangible positive effects on their lives and their education.
When asked what issues they would like local candidates to address in the run-up to the provincial election on May 9th, students overwhelmingly supported discussions of restored funding. Other issues they would like local candidates to discuss are implement a needs-based grant system, freezing tuition, and creating interest-free student loans. It’s time to hold our candidates accountable for the hardships faced by students and their families on our local community.
We will be sending these results to each of the local Kamloops MLA candidates, and await their responses to these urgent student needs. Future MLAs need to understand how under-funding post-secondary education in BC affects our community here in Kamloops. Our TRU students and their families should not be shouldering the bulk of the burden of post-secondary education.
Public post-secondary education is a public trust that we all have a stake in defending.