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

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

A member of the Belmont Secondary School in Langford has tested positive for COVID-19, the Sooke School District announced Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Positive COVID-19 case identified at Belmont Secondary School in Langford

Other school members could’ve been exposed on April 20

Starting in June, Government Street will be closed to most vehicles between Humboldt and View streets. A section of Government Street was transformed into a pedestrian-priority walkway in the wake of COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria plans 10-hour closures of Government Street come June

City’s business relief plan extended, Government St. from Humboldt to View closed noon to 10 p.m.

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

While Buccaneer Days public events are cancelled again, such as the annual parade, a home and business decorating contest will allow the spirit of the event to live on. (Facebook)
Esquimalt Buccaneer Days COVID-19 cannon fodder again

Annual celebration cancelled a second time, decorating contest full steam ahead

Police are looking for this suspect after a man was stabbed on Pandora Avenue Tuesday night. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Police seek suspect in Victoria stabbing

The stabbing took place in the 900-block of Pandora Avenue, just before 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Woman hopes cat-stalking Fanny Bay cougar can avoid euthanization

Conservation officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofino is safe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read