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Students unhappy about throne speech

The Canadian Federation of Students-British Columbia responded to today's Throne Speech with a demand for less borrowing--by students.

Shamus Reid, chair of the BC branch of CFS, wrote: "As average student debt climbs to more than $27,000 in British Columbia, students are calling on the provincial government to apply some of its economic rhetoric to education-related borrowing.

"Borrowing beyond your means is never a wise strategy, yet that is precisely what thousands of BC families are forced to do every year to afford this government’s massive tuition fee increases.

"In a throne speech riddled with rhetoric about the evils of debt, the BC government sent signals that it will make sweeping cuts to avoid provincial debt. What is unclear from the Speech is whether or not more costs will just be downloaded onto families in the form of higher tuition fees, reduced student grants, or both."

The release pointed out that tuition fees have more than doubled since the Liberals came to power in 2001.

The Throne Speech itself had little to say about post-secondary:

Nothing is more important as we look to our future than the education of our children. Government has focused its attention on expanding university, college and apprenticeship opportunities in the last eight years. Thousands of new spaces have been created for graduating students.

We must now focus on increasing graduation rates and improving student performance from the earliest years.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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