Open House at NWCC Aims to Make Post-Secondary More Accessible

A province-wide campaign whose aim is to make colleges and universities more accessible hosted an event at Northwest Community College on Tuesday.

"Open the Doors" is an initiaive that is uniting students, faculty, and parents to ensure colleges and universities remain affordable.

Simka Marshall, representative of the BC Federation of Students, says that the current government is forcing students and their families into years and years of unmanageable debt.

 "The BC Government has done nothing to make education more affordable, but instead has increased tuition fees, added more surprise fees, and added more predatory fees for international students."

In six of the eight budgets since the BC Liberals doubled tuition fees, they actually cut post-secondary funding. This resulted in longer wait lists, underfunding, and program cuts. 

MP Nathan Cullen attended the event, and spoke about his dissatisfaction with the current system:

"An education is not a choice, it's a right. You have the right to speak freely in this country. You have the right to move freely in this country. You don't have a right to an education right now in this country. You've got to pay huge amounts of money. And that isn't right."

Cullen says that charging students a lump-sum tuition inevitably drives them into debt;

"rather than pay for it throughout the rest of your lives, which is what we call taxes, we're saying you've got to pay for it all at once. When you're 22 years old. The worst time in your life to have debt, is when we give you debt. How stupid is that?"

Cullen says that he believes a more effective approach would be to allow students to pay their tuition over time, without the burden of interest.

To join the fight for affordable education, visit openthedoors.ca.