Grade 12 students across the North Okanagan are just six months away from graduating. That means they are currently applying to colleges and universities or at least considering their long-term plans.
But for many, the prospect of post-secondary education is increasingly challenging because of the financial pressure placed on them and their parents.
Even after a freeze on many fees, tuition at Okanagan College is $3,078 annually for an associate of arts degree program, $3,880 a year for bachelor of business administration and $7,334 for the aircraft maintenance engineer M-license program. That’s a fair chunk of change for a student working a minimum wage job or a parent who hasn’t seen a wage increase during the economic downturn.
That’s why there is merit to NDP leader Adrian Dix’s call for tuition grants based on need.
First off, such an initiative could make college more accessible to everyone and not just those who can afford to attend classes. Secondly, it would remove the significant burden student loans create for those wanting to better their life.
But, most importantly, grants would ensure people are developing the skills required to address the current shortage of trained workers. If the gap isn’t filled, many industries will shrink in scope.
Dix is urging Premier Christy Clark to consider his concept and hopefully she will because the future of the economy and our youth is far more important than party loyalties or who gets credit for an idea.
Hopefully there may be a plan in place by the time our newest graduates head out into the world in June.
– Vernon Morning Star