British Columbia has announced a review of post-secondary education funding – some say it could end UBC’s reliance on rising tuition fees

The provincial government has announced a funding review to look at how it allocates funds to 25 post-secondary institutions, a potential step to make higher education more affordable.

As the first of its kind in two decades, the review will look at what the province calls “block funding,” which is given to institutions for their general operations, amounting to about 75 per cent of government operating grants. Each year, block funding is awarded based on the previous year’s grants, regardless of the number of student places or specific programs at an institution.

UBC received $952 million from the province in 2021, or 32.6% of the university’s total operating revenue.

“The current funding model has not been updated for over 20 years and has created constraints and inequities for public post-secondary institutions,” wrote Minister of Higher Education and Skills Training Anne Kang. in a statement to The Ubyssian.

According to a Press release by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, the review aims to establish a model that “equitably and impartially” distributes funding to public post-secondary institutions. Additionally, it will seek to support students by ensuring they can access “affordable, high-quality post-secondary education” and “expanding core student supports”.

Saad Shoaib, the 2021/22 AMS external vice president, said the AMS had pushed the government to initiate the review. “We understand and recognize the urgency of many of the affordability issues facing students [and] that post-secondary institutions need to shift the burden onto students,” he said.

Last year, 31.6% of UBC’s operating revenue came from tuition fees.

Shoaib said the exam results could be an opportunity for society, informing his advocacy on affordability and tuition increases at UBC – given the broad student opposition to the increase in fees. tuition this year.

“I think [the review] will really allow the AMS to… put pressure on [the] the university with respect to tuition increases without having to defer to the provincial government,” Shoaib said.

Max Holmes, student board representative argued that continuous raises were not a sustainable tool for the university to raise long-term funds.

He also said UBC may apply for more government grants as part of the provincial exam announcement. Holmes and two other student representatives, Georgia Yee and Shola Fashanu, voted against the latest tuition increase.

“As a source of revenue, we can’t continually raise tuition, especially if we’re trying to keep up with inflation, because we’re going to have to outpace inflation,” Holmes said at the board meeting. administration from March 31.

According to the press release, the review process will begin with the engagement of stakeholders, including labor and industry associations, student associations and public post-secondary institutions. A separate process for consultation with Indigenous peoples will be “co-developed with Indigenous partners”.

Kang wrote that the review will be conducted “at arm’s length from the ministry” and that she is “pleased to see that this essential work to support students is underway.”

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