On Campus

BC government cuts $16 million in education funding

Last-minute cuts incense hundreds of students

It’s understandable that in tough economic times, governments will make funding cuts. The BC government’s latest $16m cut to education funding, however, is completely inexcusable.

Not only is it in clear violation of the BC Liberals’ May election platform promise (p. 26) to “maintain this year’s funding levels for student aid,” but according to BC MLA Gary Coons, “the Campbell government delayed telling students the programs had been cancelled… in order to hide the cuts until after the election.”

Indeed, several students who applied for the March deadlined Premier’s Excellence Award – a $15,000 scholarship awarded to the top high school students in the province – recently telephoned the Ministry of Advanced Education requesting the results of their applications. They were told that the judging process was complete and that the winners would be notified shortly.

When the news came that the scholarship was eliminated, most students, including myself, reasonably assumed that this year’s winners would still receive their awards and that the program would cease to exist next year. Alas, this was not the case.

After several phone calls to various government representatives, it has been confirmed that the program will be eliminated immediately, meaning even those students who applied and were apparently selected as recipients this year are out of luck.

This failure to notify students before they spent hours applying for the scholarship – or at least before they spent months anxiously awaiting the results – has been met with understandable outrage.

Other cuts include eliminating the Nurses Education Bursary at a time when the province is in dire need of more nurses, as well as the:

Permanent Disability Benefits
Debt Reduction in Repayment
BC Loan Reduction for Residential Care Aid and Home Support Worker
Health Care Bursary
Early Childhood Educator Loan Assistance