Minister monitoring new college fees

Fees increasing above 2% cap for colleges and universities must be for new services, Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson says

Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson

New fees at B.C. colleges and universities are being monitored to ensure that new services are being offered and are worth the money, Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson says.

Wilkinson was responding to NDP questions about college administrators and student societies reporting increased fees appearing on student tuition bills this year. NDP education critic Kathy Corrigan said the ministry has found a way around its policy that increases to tuition and mandatory fees are capped at two per cent per year.

Corrigan said the new fees will cost Selkirk College students $144 more per year for two-semester programs, and Vancouver Island University students will see $188 in additional fees.

Selkirk College increased its fees 4.5 per cent to cover costs of a career portal to match up students with employers. Wilkinson said employer services and co-op placement fees are typical of new services provided by colleges and universities, as the province moves to improve employment links for post-secondary education.

“We’ve told the institutions, colleges and universities, that they have to be able to justify those fees by showing benefits to students,” Wilkinson said. “We’re monitoring that on an ongoing basis.”

He said students and student societies will be surveyed at the end of the current term to see if they received useful service for their fees.

NDP critics pointed to a November newsletter from North Island College president John Bowman, describing a “new interpretation” of the policy on fees.

After the debate in the B.C. legislature, the deputy minister of advanced education released a letter to all post-secondary students to clarify the tuition cap policy. It was introduced in 2005 and extended in 2007 to include “institutional and program mandatory fees.

“For new programs, boards establish the tuition amount for the first year, and the two per cent limit applies thereafter,” the letter states.

 

Just Posted

EDITORIAL: What does being a Corn Capital really mean?

The Observer has been asked to help Agassiz become a bigger Corn Capital. But what does that mean?

Figures reveal spike in highway traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley

Nearly one in 20 westbound vehicles between Abbotsford and Langley clocked at under 60 km/h

Taser takedown in Chilliwack complex after incident gets violent

Male suspect became agitated under questioning and repeatedly punched an officer

Harrison looks to test viability of solar power

Harrison has applied for a grant to see whether solar power is an option for its village buildings

Agassiz man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

VIDEO: Agassiz remembers local officer at grave-marking ceremony

Montague White-Fraser had been buried in the Old Cemetery for 92 years without a headstone

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Most Read