A Statistics Canada report released this week shows that government funding is declining at colleges across the country. According to the report, the proportion of college revenues from provincial governments is declining, while revenues from tuition fees and ancillary fees have been increasing, resulting a declining proportion of operating budgets covered by public funding.
“For the past 17 years, government funding in BC has not kept up with inflationary increases to costs, let alone expansions in the college system,” said Simka Marshall, Chairperson of the British Columbia Federation of Students. “Meanwhile, in the same timeframe tuition fees have more than doubled at BC’s colleges.”
“While tuition fees and other fees continue to rise at alarming rates, government funding falls further and further behind.”
Across Canada, provincial government funding accounts for on average 61% of community college budgets, while tuition fees and other fees account for 26%. In BC, however, the numbers are quite different: provincial government funding accounts for on average only 53% of college budgets, while tuition fees and other fees account for 32%.
The report also indicates that tuition fees are an increasingly important revenue source for universities, as government funding has been cut down to only 48%—less than half of total revenue.
“This report highlights what students have been saying for years: years of funding cuts produced skyrocketing tuition fees, and in turn, record student debt,” said Marshall. “What the report doesn’t show is how these attacks on public education have caused wide-spread challenges for young people and their families.”
The BC Federation of Students represents over 130,000 post-secondary students at 13 universities and colleges in every region of BC. Post-secondary students in BC have been represented by the BCFS and its predecessor organization since 1975.