By: Karissa Ketter, News Writer
The new provincial budget was published on February 22, 2022. It announced multiple investment initiatives to increase post-secondary education accessibility for student groups.
The press release stated part of the investments will work towards adding in-demand jobs. This will include creating more spaces for those going into early childhood education, skilled trades, and healthcare. The budget notes the province will provide $67 million for job training, opening up more spots for healthcare assistants and those in skilled trades. They are also investing in an additional 40,000 spaces for childcare in BC.
The new budget also includes $18 million for SFU’s First Peoples’ Gathering House, which is currently under construction. Approximately over $104 million will be put toward a student housing project and renovating dining facilities at SFU’s Burnaby campus. The new student residence will add 386 beds at SFU Burnaby.
Additionally, over $21 million will be invested over the course of three years for adult learners in programs like the Graduated Adult Program.
The BC government has invested $289 million in increasing internet connectivity to rural communities. This allows for more students in rural areas to participate in remote learning.
Melissa Chirino, chairperson of BC Federation of Students noted BC’s economic success relies on “building a resilient and diverse economy in British Columbia,” and post-secondary investments are a component of that.
The press release states, “Over the next decade, there will be more than a million job openings in the province and 80% of those jobs will require a post-secondary degree.
Investments today [will contribute to] the elimination of interest on student loans, and tuition free adult basic education all of which have helped remove barriers in accessing education.”
A full copy of the provincial budget can be found at the BC government website.