Volume 94, Issue 85

Friday, March 2, 2001


NEWS

B.C. to lower tuition fees - Premier announce 5% cut beginning this fall

First-year report gives fresh look at students

Seneca moves to China

U of T faculty association files grievance in support of prof

Mitchell High keeps Blue Devil

Amputees have nothing to fear

Corroded Disorder

B.C. to lower tuition fees - Premier announce 5% cut beginning this fall

By Erika Zupko
Gazette Staff

Post-secondary students in British Columbia will soon be enjoying a reduction in tuition fees.

The announcement made Wednesday by B.C. Premier Ujjal Dosanjh stated tuition fees in the province will be reduced by five per cent, bringing levels to $2,285 at schools like the University of British Columbia, and operating budgets will get funding increases resulting in over 5,000 additional student spaces at the post-secondary level.

"Today's announcement by the premier strongly recognizes the importantance of universities to the economic and social future of the province," said Martha Piper, chair of the University Presidents' Council and president of the University of British Columbia.

Piper said the news has shown the government of B.C. is listening to the concerns of the province's six universities regarding funding for core budgeting and increased support for research.

Nikki McCallum, media relations for the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education, said post-secondary education is one of provincial government's top priorities, adding all the universities will be completely compensated for the loss in revenue made by the cut.

"[The purpose of the cuts are] to have open and accessible education for everyone in the province," McCallum said.

Michael Conlon, national chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students, said the CFS was pleased by the announcement. He said the fee reduction is an important step forward in reducing tuition for students.

"[The current] government wants to be the party that supports education – it has shown a commitment to lowering fees," he said.

British Columbia is not the first province in Canada to move towards lowering tuition costs. Prince Edward Island initiated a tuition fee freeze last year and Quebec has been freezing fees for the past six years. Quebec has the lowest tuition fees in the country, with B.C. a close second, Conlon explained.

Conlon said the CFS is also expecting Newfoundland to implement a tuition reduction, a platform which was used in the platform of newly-elected Premier Roger Grimes.

Students in Ontario, however, may not benefit from any tuition reductions in the foreseeable future according to Conlon. "Unfortunately, I think Ontario is still bucking the trend."

He said ideologically, the province does not support post-secondary education, adding Ontario has the second-highest tuition fees in the country.

Spokesperson for Ministry of Colleges, Training and Universities, David Ross, said the province has committed a two per cent increase per year over five years for university tuition. He added the state of post-secondary education rates will be re-evaluated at the end of that plan.

The tuition fee reductions for B.C. and Newfoundland will be implemented in September 2001.


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