Colleges face funding hits

Larger universities have gobbled up the vast majority of international students.

To the editor:

Kelowna MLA Steve Thomson paints a pretty picture of B.C. post-secondary education in his recent MLA’s report (Friday, Jan. 24, Capital News).

I wonder if he’s really just looking through rose tinted glasses and posturing for his party before the imminent provincial election.

In his report headlined Good News for Okanagan College, Thomson touts a seven per cent increase in international students coming to our province.

In reality, larger universities have gobbled up the vast majority of these international students.

As a result, Okanagan College has actually seen a substantial decrease in international student enrollment over the past couple years.

The fact is the Liberal government has poorly managed post-secondary education.

Colleges in B.C. have not received an increase in provincial funding to cover inflationary costs for almost six years.

The past three budgets at Okanagan College have had to absorb over $6 million in inflationary costs through staff reductions, increased ancillary fees, and across the board tuition fee increases for students.

Fancy sustainable buildings don’t mean much if our institutions don’t have the proper funding to meet their mandate of providing accessible and affordable post-secondary education to the students in our community.

Brianne Berchowitz,

Kelowna