As a member local of the British Columbia Federation of Students we implement campaigns that work to improve quality of education, to be accessible to all who wish for post-secondary education in BC, and strive for all students to feel safe while attending any institution. The main campaigns we operate can be found below.
Our Time Is Now
We are now 25 days away from Election Day in Canada, and data shows that students and young people are a deciding factor amongst voter turn out. People between 18 and 24 years of age are no longer taking a back seat on issues and policies that shape our democratic systems, and this election is more important than ever. If you’re committed to voting, we ask you to sign a pledge today. You’ll receive information on where your poll is located for E-Day, advanced polling dates, and where you can attend All-Candidates debates where you can learn the platforms of candidates vying to be your next MP.
Open Textbooks Now
The high costs of textbooks have become a hinderance to students trying to complete their courses. With no legal requirements in place publishers are able to increase costs exponentially. Since 2002, the cost of textbooks has nearly doubled. In fact, 26% of BC students choose to not register for a course due to textbook costs, which negatively impacts their academic career. One solution is having instructors switch to using Open Education Resources (OER) to supplement or completely replace traditional physical textbooks. Many of these are free or substantially lower cost than textbooks but are of the same or higher academic quality. Using an online textbook, a type of OER, allow students to access course material that are more suited to their needs. Students can choose to print the entire textbook, which is often still less expensive than a traditional textbook, or only print the chapters/sections that will be covered in class. To learn more about this campaign visit the BCFS website, or stop by one of our offices or tables.
Knock Out Interest On Student Loans
Many provinces in Canada, including BC, have taken action to remove interest charged on the provincial portion of student loans because they recognize what it is – a tax on students. We are now calling on the Federal Government to enact the same change, by eliminating interest on together on student loans. Follow this link to tell the Prime Minister that eliminating interest on Federal student loans is just as possible as Provincial student loans.
Fairness for International Students
In 2011, under Christy Clark, the Government of BC announced an increase to their international student enrolment by 50% – or 40,000 students. No funding model was proposed to accommodate these students nor were institutions consulted with to determine the impact of this increase. Without per-student Government funding, what institutions receive for domestic students, international students are expected to cover regular tuition plus make up the portion covered by Government subsidies. This may seem reasonable, however many institutions use international student fees as a way to bolster their budget while Government funding has steadily declined. With no real regulations in place for international student fees many institutions charge up to five-times that as domestic student fees, an increase by any amount at any time with no notice to students. At Coast Mountain College, international students pay just over three-times that of domestic students, where Provincial legislation states domestic tuition cannot be raised more than 2% a year international tuition fees could increase by any amount, at any time, and with no notice to students. Coast Mountain Students’ Union Board of Directors know international students deserve better, they should also have the same fee stability as domestic students. We are asking Coast Mountain College to implement policy that international tuition fees also have a maximum increase cap so international students can budget their education without the uncertainty of being able to afford their next semester. To read more about this campaign and fact sheet the BCFS have put together follow this link.
Grants Not Loans
Did you know that BC is the only province in Canada that does not offer an up-front needs-based grants program, nor allows forgivable loans? Due to the lack of programs, the majority of students first starting their educational paths must to out a loan or forcing them to wait longer because they cannot afford to attend institutions. It’s time BC makes the effort to help people enter post-secondary studies instead of maintaining barriers. For more information follow this link to the research conducted by the BCFS on why a Provincial Grants Program is needed in BC, and stop our one of our offices or tables to share how receiving a grant could help you during your education.