Cranbrook-- With students now back on campus at Cranbrook's College of the Rockies, finding classrooms is not the only thing concerning students. Local NDP candidate for nomination Norma Blissett says she's hearing that students are most concerned about their finances and debt loads.
"The start of a new school year means students pay tuition, fees, books, rent, utilities and other expenses," says Blissett who's running the Kootenay East BCNDP nomination. "Since today's students are paying considerably more than their parents generation, it's no surprise national studies are finding that finances are the number one cause of stress for students"
In the last ten years under the Liberals, tuition in BC has doubled. At the same time, BC continues to have the highest interest rate on student loans in Canada while being the only province that fails to offer students financial needs-based grants. The result is that 54% of students have debt, with the average debt-load being $27,000 after a four year program.
"In less than a decade, 80% of jobs will require post-secondary education. With a skilled labour shortage starting right now, BC needs young people to get training," notes Blissett. "Companies like Teck are asking the province to invest in skills training because it is so important for the wellbeing of our economy."
Adrian Dix and the BC NDP have committed $100 million to financial needs-based grants to help reduce student debt and make post-secondary education more affordable. This bold step for positive change will help to build BC's labour force needed for a strong economy.