Hundreds of students from the University of Victoria marched from Centennial Square to the legislature Wednesday to protest the rising cost of tuition fees.

University students fed up with rising tuition costs

Bronte Renwick-Shields is fed up. The University of Victoria student has roughly $30,000 in debt after four years of education.

Bronte Renwick-Shields is fed up.

The student is in her fourth year of studying political science and applied ethics at the University of Victoria. Throughout the years, Renwick-Shields has worked two to three jobs at the time to pay for her eduction and keeping up with rising tuition fees.

Despite her hard work, she has accumulated more than $30,000 in student debt, with one more year of studies still to go. She also hopes to attend grad school, but said it keeps looking further out of reach.

“It shows that it’s not that students aren’t working hard, it’s that our education system is inaccessible to students who are working, full time,” Renwick-Shields said, adding her family didn’t have the funds to help pay for her education. “It’s really difficult to look at your future and imagine that much debt on your shoulders.”

Renwick-Shields is one of hundreds of post-secondary students who marched from Centennial Square to the B.C. legislature on Wednesday to protest the rising cost of tuition fees and unsustainable amount of student debt.

The average post-secondary student graduates with roughly $35,000 in debt, while interest rates on student loans are 2.5 per cent above prime. B.C. is the only province in Canada without a needs-based grants system for students, according to co-organizer Kenya Rogers, a third year political science student at UVic.

“Post-secondary education is continually made more and more unaccessible for the majority of young Canadians,” Rogers said.

With the upcoming provincial election in 2017, organizers want politicians to put student issues into platforms and urge the provincial government to freeze tuition fees immediately, increase core funding and progressively eliminate tuition fees in B.C. over the next 10 years.

Federally, organizers are calling for the government to implement a publicly-funded post-secondary education act, modelled after the Canada Health Act.

Seamus Wolfe, who was at the rally, is completing his masters in political science. The new father is juggling school, finding work and looking after his child.

“Starting off your family life already in huge amount of debt makes things like owning a home totally out of reach,” he said. “It’s absurd that I’m in such a huge amount of debt and I’m already starting to put aside money for my two-year-old daughter’s education. It’s just mind boggling.”

It is estimated student debt across the country is more than $15 billion.

This was the first rally to protest rising student debt in Victoria in the last five years.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Claremont Spartans win the inaugural Senior Girls’ AAAA Basketball Island Championship

Claremont Spartans win their Feb. 15 game agains the Royal Bay Ravens 71 - 64

Sidney faces rising capital costs around RCMP building

Town staff expect RCMP model to remain ‘cost effective’ option

Campus View Elementary undergoes $4.2 million in seismic upgrades

Campus View Elementary undergoes significant seismic upgrades

Sidney company tastes sweet success with sugar kelp

Cascadia Seaweed is experiencing rapid growth after launching six months ago

North Saanich floats tougher policies for buoys and moorings near Tsehum Harbour

Municipality also considers additional collaboration with Sidney and other communities

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read