Students gathered at Selkirk College Tuesday night to protest tuition hikes. Photo: Betsy Kline

Selkirk College raises tuition fees

Two-per-cent increase for domestic students

About 175 students gathered at Selkirk College’s Castlegar campus to protest proposed tuition hikes prior to the college’s board of governor’s meeting Tuesday night.

The students’ union collected more than 1,100 names on a petition rejecting this year’s proposed tuition fees at the college.

“I am overwhelmed by how much support we’ve received for this campaign,” said Samson Boyer, a law and justice student and spokesperson for the Selkirk students’ union. “We’ve got more than half the student body who have signed on for this.”

The students say tuition fees have increased at Selkirk College every year for the last 16 years, outpacing all measures of the consumer price index, cost of living adjustment, standard wage scales and the provincial minimum wage.

The Board of Governors decided on a two-per-cent increase for domestic students in an 8-3 vote. The province has set a limit on annual tuition increases at the rate of inflation up to a maximum of two per cent.

The increase will range from $65 to $125 per year depending on which program a student is enrolled in.

Rates for international students will be going up by six to nine percent, varying by program.

Rates for international students are not voted on by the board, as they are increased on a cost recovery basis and are not tied to the provincial government base grant.

The tuition hike only applies to new international students, currently enrolled students will not be subject to the increase.

The increase for international students works out to be about $500 a semester for most students.

Keeping up with inflation

Selkirk’s president says the college has little choice but to increase tuition rates this year. Provincial grants only cover about two-thirds of the cost of a Canadian student’s education, says Angus Graeme.

He says the college hasn’t had a core funding increase in more than a decade, and the provincially mandated two per cent increase for domestic students keeps the school in sync with the rate of inflation.

“I think all of us would love to see tuition a lot less for our young people, but the province hasn’t raised our provincial grant in a decade,” says Graeme.

“Students need and want more services, they want a quality learning experience, they want a credential that makes a difference that gets them closer to where they want to be, and we have a difficult time every year trying to figure out the funding for that.”

Wages make up three-quarters of the college’s $56-million budget, so salaries remain a prime driver of cost increases.

Still affordable

Graeme says the international tuition rate hasn’t gone up in several years, so the college is actually playing catch up with the rest of the province.

“I don’t think the public wants us to be subsidizing international students, at this time anyway,” he says. “We have raised [tuition] to a point where we are slightly cheaper than the nearest competition, which is the College of the Rockies and Okanagan College, so we continue to be a very affordable international option for students.”

The alternative would be to cut programs or services, he says.

Graeme says he’s more than willing to get together with the students’ union to discuss other ways of easing the financial burden on students.

With files by Betsy Kline

 

Supporters of the Put Tuition on Ice campaign at Selkirk College were handing out pizza and macaroni and cheese to students who participated in a rally at Selkirk College’s Castlegar campus Tuesday night. Photo: Betsy Kline

Members of the Selkirk College Students’ Union’s protested tuition increases at the Board of Governors meeting Tuesday. Photo: Mike Sagal.

Just Posted

Rossland’s Seven Summits school gets grant to grow global presence

Centre for Learning hopes to triple the number of international students it has

Rural dividend grants awarded in Kootenay West

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy made the grant announcements in Trail on Thursday

Rossland skiier places third at U19 Canadian Ski Cross

Rossland’s Sage Stefani finished out a successful season.

Warfield elementary school celebrating 70 years

Webster Elementary School officially opened April 23, 1949; open house and events planned next week

Patients thank Kootenay Boundary doctor

Dr. Scheepers’ patients thanked him for the gift of restoring their sight

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

Most Read