College and university in BC is expensive. Estimates suggest Canadian post-secondary grads acquire a debt load that’s over $35,000 on average. According to the BC Federation of Students, “BC students are graduating with some of the highest debt levels in Canada.” The government recently made a move to cut interest on student loans by half but they still are making serious bank off students.
In other places in Canada and around the world, governments have made the choice to provide free education because post-secondary is about acquiring knowledge and skills that are useful throughout life. Here are five places where education is free.
In February 2017, Mayor Ed Lee announced community college would be free to all California residents who’ve lived in the city for at least one year, making San Francisco the first major U.S. city to offer free post-secondary education. The city supervisor, Jane Kim, made this investment in citizens as a strategy to address income inequality.
Ontario’s government announced free tuition for thousands of students, starting in 2017. Students from households making under $50,000 a year will have their education entirely paid for. Most of those from middle-income families making under $83,000 a year will also have their tuition fully covered.
New Brunswickers with a household income under $60,000 are eligible for Tuition Access Bursaries that cover the difference between grants from the federal government for low-income students and tuition in New Brunswick colleges and universities. It’s a great step toward equalizing access to post-secondary education.
Public universities are tuition-free in Argentina. It’s been that way since 1918, making Argentina the second most educated populace in Latin America. Post-secondary education policies even prohibit student fees and other non-tuition charges at public universities. While courses are only offered in Spanish, foreign students are welcome at the 48 public universities and institutes in the country.
A steady flow of Canadian students has travelled to Germany in recent years to take advantage of free university tuition. International students are welcome to pursue undergraduate and graduate studies and improve their German language skills.
Other locales around the world also offer tuition-free post-secondary education.
Pursuing higher education should be a stepping-stone to a brighter future, not a lifetime of debt. Open the Doors is a campaign to put money back into the pockets of students and their families, with measures that include lower tuition, forgivable loans, eliminating interest on student loans, and more grants to students from low and middle income families
With your help, we can elect a government that will reinvest to deliver the full range and depth of education and training that young people will need to fill 21st-century jobs. Add your name along with thousands of other British Columbians who are pledging to vote for BC post-secondary education.