Post-secondary students stand to benefit from the BC Government’s substantial investment in affordable child care. Budget 2018 invests $1 billion over the next three years to increase licensed spaces and reduce costs to families, which will help students with children afford to attend school.
“The high cost of child care is an extraordinary expense for many students,” said Simka Marshall, Chairperson of the British Columbia Federation of Students. “This Budget’s immediate fee reduction for families with young children and commitment to increase licensed spaces will give students an improved opportunity to access education.”
Approximately 20% of students in adult basic education programs report having children. While the government has eliminated tuition fees for these programs, the high cost of childcare can still restrict many people from accessing upgrading courses. There are thousands of students in college, vocational, university, and graduate studies who have children and families.
Budget 2018’s focus on childcare and housing has direct benefits for students in terms of overall affordability; however, the Budget lacks any investment in addressing the costs of post-secondary education such as eliminating interest on student loans or freezing or reducing tuition fees. Over the next three years tuition fee revenue is estimated to increase by over 6% each year.
“In an era of record-high tuition fees and student debt, shocking textbook prices, and astronomical rents, affordable childcare is a relief for students,” said Marshall. “Yet students need direct investments in financial assistance and affordable textbooks to make the up-front costs easier to bear.”
The Budget also commits funding for the continued elimination of tuition fees for adult education, support for youth aging out of care, and for Indigenous skills training. It also increases investments in enhancing technology-focused programs on campuses, and provides funds for public post-secondary institutions to borrow from the government to build on-campus housing.