Dix calls for return of student grants

NDP leader Adrian Dix visited a college campus Monday to call on the B.C. government to reinstate the student grant program it canceled in 2004.

NDP leader Adrian Dix listens as Camosun College faculty association president Bronwen Welch describes financial hardships of students.

VICTORIA – NDP leader Adrian Dix visited a college campus Monday to call on the B.C. government to reinstate the student grant program it canceled in 2004.

B.C. was spending $80 million a year on grants to top up the federal-provincial student loan program, and an NDP government would reinstate a minimum tax on financial institutions to fund $100 million worth of grants per year, Dix said.

Flanked by Camosun College students and local MLAs, Dix acknowledged that his announcement was to have formed part of an election campaign prepared for this fall. With the next B.C. election now put off to May 2013, Dix encouraged Premier Christy Clark to adopt his policy now to relieve debt that he said now averages $27,000 for B.C. post-secondary grads.

Clark is set to announce a job growth plan next week, with a series of announcements around the province culminating with a speech Sept. 22 to the Vancouver Board of Trade. That plan is expected to include employment training assistance.

Dix made a similar promise when running for leadership of the B.C. NDP this spring. Monday he had few other details, which he said would have to be worked out with post-secondary institutions based on previous grant programs.

“My own view is that being 10th in Canada in student grants, doubling tuition fees, and having the highest debt loads for students is not the direction we need to be going when we’re asking young people and needing young people to get access to the very education they need to fill the jobs of the future,” Dix said.

Camosun College faculty association president Bronwen Welch joined Dix for the announcement. She said she sees students who can’t afford a $100 textbook for her English literature classes and still make their rent, because of tuition and other costs.

“What I don’t understand is at this point, why are people not rioting in the streets?” Welch said. “This is an investment in our future, this is not a cost.”

The B.C. Liberals say average tuition paid in B.C. last year was $4,802, fourth lowest in Canada, and average student debt is third lowest.

Just Posted

Inside the music

Big Read: step behind the curtain at the venerable Vancouver Island Music Festival

Frost backs Town of Port McNeill’s temporary legal cannabis sales ban

“I spoke with all the councillors and was kept up to date with what was going on.”

Seal attacks kayakers in the Broughton Archipelago

“It has to be one chance in a million of this happening.”

BC Ferries delays launch of Northern Sea Wolf route

For the second time, BC Ferries delays direct service from Port Hardy to Bella Coola

Historic Hornsby Crawler housing at hand

Construction for Hornsby Crawler structure approved by RDMW

Here’s what you need to know about Day 2 at the BC Games

From equestrian to volleyball to swimming, all 18 events in full swing here in the Cowichan Valley

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

PHOTO GALLERY: BC Games Day 2

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

BC Wildfire update on 14 major Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

UPDATED: Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters defy eviction order

Demonstrators at Camp Cloud in Burnaby say they won’t leave, but will meet with city officials

B.C. tent city camper arrested for taking coins from fountain

The man, who built a shelter at a Saanich park, says homeless people are unfairly targeted

Ex-Raptor DeMar DeRozan says goodbye to Toronto on Instagram

The guard was traded to the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green

Okanagan wildfires have potential to become firestorms, says UBC expert

David Andison said to let smaller fires go, to create pockets in the landscape for new forests

2017 wildfires give B.C. mom chance to say thank you to officer who saved her son

An unlikely encounter in the rural community of Likely, near Williams Lake

Most Read