The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) is calling BC’s new financial aid plan "a major disappointment for students." The province’s new plan would see a $1,200 contribution to Registered Education Savings Plan holders, which CFS says is less than one-quarter of one year of university tuition fees.
"It’s the classic reverse Robin Hood: Steal from the poor to give to the rich," said Katie Marocchi, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-British Columbia.
"It took the BC Liberal government more than eight years to come up with a replacement for the student grant program they cancelled. What was tabled today is a truly inferior program in every way."
The "BC Training and Education Savings Program" is a one-time contribution to 6-year-old British Columbians. Successful applicants must have an RESP account and apply during a 12-month window immediately preceding their seventh birthday. CFS claims that "the new savings scheme is more likely to benefit wealthier households."
"Students are paying more and getting less every year. Tuition fees are going up while class sizes increase, equipment becomes outdated, and building maintenance is ignored," said Marocchi.
They added, this is compounded by the fact that post-secondary institutions will suffer a $45-million cut in core funding by 2015. They also claim that, when accounting for inflation, per student funding for BC’s post-secondary institutions is lower than 2001 levels.