BC government’s Budget 2024 fails to address the critical needs of students and institutions. For years, students have been calling for the government to significantly invest in public post-secondary institutions to decrease the financial burden downloaded to students by tuition fees.

Though Budget 2024 provided investments of a billion dollars in capital projects across the post-secondary sector and did not present funding cuts to the post-secondary sector, it still fails to make up for decades of decreased operational budgets of institutions.

Further, it has no fiscal measures that address the impending budgetary complications brought on by the federal government’s 35% reduction and cap on international student permits. International students’ tuition fees presently comprise approximately 23-32% of institution budgets. Without new investments in the operational budgets and decreased international students’ enrolment public post-secondary education is at risk.

What’s in Budget 2024 for Post-Secondary Education?

  • $600 million in increased operating grants to address collective bargaining that is consistent with the Shared Recovery Mandate resulting in increased wages for faculty and staff.
  • Over $6 billion in capital spending over the 3 years towards building more research and learning spaces, as well as student housing. Over $1 billion in funding has been provided this year that will go towards previously announced capital projects across the province.
  • The government has also committed to increasing funding to colleges and universities by $845 million over the next three years to support the growing student population and anticipated higher staff requirements.

What Does This Mean for Students?

This investment is a step in the right direction, but the Federation has been calling for an annual increase of over $500 million to funding that would return funding levels to early 2000’s levels of nearly 70%. The lack of government investment and funding for our sector has resulted in cuts to already overburdened on-campus support services that students rely on and an alarming overreliance on international student tuition fees. This has created a precarious funding model vulnerable to changes in international student enrollment, such as the federal cap on study permits.

In 2023, the province forecasted over a million job openings over the next decade, of which, over 80% will require some level of post-secondary education. In recent years however, the proportion of public funding to BC colleges and universities has dropped to 41.1% of general operating revenue and tuition fees now make up more than 50% of general operating revenue. This downloading of costs onto students continues to push post-secondary education out of reach for those who need it the most. In 2022, the province started the process for a funding review that would determine gaps in government funding, but stakeholders have yet to hear what the next steps are.

What Actions We Are Taking and What Can You Do?

In response to the challenges faced in the sector, the Federation recently issued an Open Letter to Premier Eby:  5 Calls to Action for Post-Secondary– which has been signed on by 35 students’ unions, faculty associations, labour unions and community organisation representing more than 837,500 British Columbians – that includes five calls to action and outlines a vision for a post-secondary sector that delivers for students, the economy, and BC’s communities. Along with increasing government funding, the letter highlights the need to cap annual international tuition fee increases, complete the funding review and redevelop the current funding model to be less reliant on fees from students.

Students across British Columbia need to see more action from all parties ahead of the provincial election. Students want and need to be listened to when we advocate what will make our educational experiences better. Prioritizing investments in the sector will help address the funding crisis, support on-campus services and ensure that post-secondary in BC is affordable and accessible to all. Failure to do so will have far-reaching consequences for the province’s economy, social mobility and overall well-being.

Current and future students are key to economic development in our province to fill in labour shortages and boost the economy. We look forward to seeing how parties will prioritize the needs of students in the upcoming election that goes beyond what Budget 2024 provides.

Help us show the government that students and their families deserve a well-funded, accessible, and public post-secondary education sector by sending an email to the Premier and the Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills through our RISEUP campaign.

To find out more about what the British Columbia Federation of Students would have liked to see in Budget 2024 you can see our calls to action for a more accessible and affordable post-secondary sector for all: Open Letter to Premier Eby: 5 Calls to Action for Post-Secondary

We are also highlighting other aspects of the BC Budget 2024 that provide some alleviation on the affordability crisis for British Columbians that students can take advantage of.

Other Budget 2024 Programs to Help Affordability:

  • Budget 2024 has funded the 2017’s promised B.C. renter’s tax credit that will provide $400 to low- and moderate-income renters. Renters making under $60,000 can claim the full tax credit, while those making up to $80,000 will receive a reduced credit.
  • The climate action tax credit is increasing by roughly 10% and is paid quarterly. An individual will be able to receive up to $504 if they make under $39,115 and a partial credit if they make less than $61,465.
  • The B.C. Electricity Affordability Credit will provide $100 in savings by providing a credit on power bills that will remain until April 2025.
  • Starting in 2025, B.C. will cover one round of in-vitro fertilization fertility treatment. This new program can save British Columbians roughly $15,000 to $20,000.
BC Federation of Students


The BC Federation of Students represents over 170,000 students from 14 institutions across BC. Together these students advocate for affordable + accessible post-secondary education.