Students Demand Tuition Fee Freeze

At an upcoming meeting, the Selkirk College Board of Governors will be making a decision regarding a 2% increase to Canadian student tuition fees. Since 2001, decisions by this body have led to increases in tuition every year. As these fees have increased over the last sixteen years, they have far out-paced the consumer price index, cost of living adjustment, standard wage scales and the provincial minimum wage.

In the lead up to the pending vote, the Selkirk College Students’ Union has been organising students around the “Put Tuition on Ice” campaign that seeks to showcase the need for affordable education that begins with a tuition freeze. The campaign has garnered 1,100 signatures to date.

Students of Selkirk College state that access to education are imperative to their futures and the future of the BC economy.

“We need affordable education in this province if we are going to have strong economy in the future,” Samson Conner-Boyer, Director at-Large of the Students’ Union explains. “The province of BC, especially in rural areas like the Kootenays lacks doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants, teachers you name it! It is no longer possible to get a good reliable job with just a high school diploma. What hope of a brighter future do poor families have if they can’t even afford community collage? This is why we are fighting for a tuition fee freeze because we want a brighter future for us and the province!”

Rebekkah Ankenmann of the Students’ Union states that the Board of Governors voting in favour of a tuition freeze “creates a meaningful statement that we believe that education should be accessible to all students regardless of their financial ability. Every big idea started with a small group of passionate people who wanted a change, and I believe that with our campaign we can make a statement that tuition fees and post secondary educational funding in British Columbia needs to be changed.”

Labour unions, including the Selkirk College Faculty Association, have also signed onto the campaign to freeze tuitions and support the local community.

President of the Selkirk Faculty Association Lui Marinelli states, “Selkirk College is critical to our region in providing education to young and old, to prepare those now ready to work, to those who need to change their work, and to those who just want to learn.  As tuitions increase, an education becomes less and less affordable and available.  The administration needs to do more to find alternative sources of income to offset cost of living increases.  The students have been burdened for far too long.”

The Board of Governors meeting is open to the public and will take place on Tuesday, January 22 at 5:30pm in the staff lounge at the Castlegar campus. Students will assemble at 4:30 in the campus Pit student gathering space to prepare placards and rally in advance of the meeting.