More than 426,000 students are enrolled in at least one course at one of the 25 public post-secondary institutions in British Columbia – taking classes at campuses, satellite locations or learning centres throughout the province.
Government is using data to drive funding and programming decisions by shifting education and training to better match in-demand occupations, including tech-related programming. By 2017-18, 25% of operating grants will be targeted at education and training that supports in-demand occupations.
A post-secondary education offers a great return on investment whether it is a diploma, trade or degree. For example, British Columbians with an undergraduate post-secondary degree can expect to earn an additional $827,000 over their lifetime.
- More than 32,000 new student seats – including 2,500 graduate student spaces – and seven public university campuses have been added to the public post-secondary system since 2001.
- B.C. public post-secondary institutions awarded 62,443 credentials in 2014-15, an increase of 10% from 56,549 in 2010-11.
- In 2014-15, 3,340 credentials were awarded to Aboriginal students, an increase of 706, or 26% over 2009-10.
- More than 8,900 new spaces in health and medical programs have been added since 2001. This includes more than doubling the number of nursing spaces funded, adding almost 4,800 new student spaces to train registered nurses, psychiatric nurses, specialty nurses, nurses re-entering the workforce and licensed practical nurses, as well as nurses with advanced degrees.
- Doubled the number of midwife spaces at UBC in 2012 to 20 first-year seats and added eight seats for internationally-educated midwives that started in January 2016.
- The number of first-year spaces for medical students has more than doubled since 2001 from 128 to a total of 288 seats.
- The Industry Training Authority (ITA) provides over 100 apprenticeship training programs in B.C., including almost 50 Red Seal trades. There are currently more than 39,000 registered apprentices in the industry training system (including youth) more than double the 14,676 apprentices registered when the ITA was created in 2004.
- Targeted $14.6 million to reduce wait lists in high-demand trades, creating 3,730 additional critical trade seats at 15 public post-secondary institutions throughout the province for students entering in-demand occupations that support a strong, growing and diverse economy.
- There are more than 350 private training institutions in B.C. offering programs that had more than 58,000 student enrolments in 2014-15.
- The number of credentials awarded to students in the private-career training sector increased 9.7% to 41,931 in 2014-15 up from 38,228 in 2013-14.
Investment by taxpayers:
- Total operating grants provided to public post-secondary institutions increased by 45.5% – from $1.3 billion in 2001-02 to more than $1.8 billion in 2016-17.
- Total taxpayer funding for post-secondary education in B.C. is expected to increase from over $1.9 billion in 2017-18 to over $2 billion in 2019-20.
- Government has invested more than $3.3 billion in capital and infrastructure projects at public post-secondary institutions in B.C. since 2001, including 1,900 capital projects throughout the province.
- The provincial government is directly investing $1.028 billion in planned capital projects in the post-secondary sector over three years (2017-18 to 2019-20).
- Current projects benefiting from government investment include:
- The $126-million Energy Systems Engineering Building at SFU Surrey includes the mechatronics technology incubator program (B.C. is providing $45 million). Completion is expected by the end of 2018.
- The $122.65-million Emily Carr University of Art + Design Redevelopment Project. (B.C. is providing up to $101.65 million). Construction started in the summer of 2015 with completion expected in March 2017.
- The $80-million upgrade and expansion to the undergraduate teaching laboratories at UBC (B.C. is providing up to $19.95 million). Construction began in summer 2016 with completion in summer 2018.
- The $48.5-million Health Sciences Centre at the Interurban campus of Camosun College (B.C. is providing $31 million). Construction is expected to get underway in early 2017 with completion in spring 2018.
- The $36-million Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Richmond Campus (B.C. is providing up to $12 million). Completion is expected by the end of 2017.
- The $35-million Okanagan College Trades Renewal Project in Kelowna (B.C. provided $10.6 million). Completion is expected in 2016.
- The $33-million Northern Lights College trades training centre. (B.C. is providing $15.33 million). Construction work began in summer 2016, with completion expected in 2018.
- The $30-million Industrial Training and Technology Centre at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops (B.C. is providing $7 million). Completion is expected by spring 2018.
- The $22-million in upgrades to the Spruce Building at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (B.C. is providing $14.7 million). Completion is expected in 2018.
- The $20-million marine, automotive and trades complex expansion at Vancouver Island University (B.C. is providing $9.5 million). Completion is expected in 2018.
- The $18-million Silver Kind campus at Selkirk college in Nelson (B.C. is providing $10.3 million). Completion is expected in 2018.
- The $10-million trades training facility at Collegeof the Rockies (B.C. is providing $3.8 million). Completion is expected in 2018.
- Undergraduate students attending B.C. public universities paid the fourth-lowest tuition in Canada in 2016-17, according to the latest Statistics Canada report on tuition fees.
- Undergraduate tuition fees in British Columbia increased 2.5% to $5,534 in 2016-17 from $5,397 in 2015-16, compared to the national average increase of 2.8% to $6,373, as reported by Statistics Canada.
- According to Statistics Canada, the average annual undergraduate tuition cost in British Columbia has increased 16.8% to $5,534 in 2016-17 from $4,740 in 2004-05.
- Tuition in B.C. is lower than Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick – $839 less than the Canadian average.
- Government capped tuition increases at 2% annually in 2005.
Paying for School:
- B.C. students pay less than one-third the cost of post-secondary education on average.
- According to the most recent BC Student Outcomes surveys, fewer than one-third of graduates in the public post-secondary sector made use of government student loans.
- A 2015 survey of almost 10,000 B.C. students by BC Statistics found that for bachelor’s graduates who accessed government student loans (36%), the median debt was $23,000. Diploma, associate degree and certificate students who borrowed funds from a government source had a median debt of $11,000.
- Government pays 100% of the interest on loans for those who do borrow while students are enrolled in studies. Government also offers a comprehensive mix of loans and grants to help students pay for their education.
- The comprehensive student financial assistance program in B.C. provided 63,500 awards in 2015-16 – approximately 57,500 to full-time students (40,800 in the B.C. public system, 8,600 in the private system and 8,100 awards out-of-province) and 6,100 to part time students. This supported almost 45,500 students.
- B.C. issued more than $199 million in student loans during 2015-16.
- Students receive approximately $55 million annually in targeted provincial grants, including approximately $30 million through the BC Completion Grant, benefiting approximately 22,000 students.
- Government has invested more than $4 billion in student financial assistance since 2001 to make education more accessible.
- For low-income British Columbians, the Repayment Assistance Plan helps borrowers manage their Canada Student Loan and B.C. Student Loan debt by reducing or eliminating monthly payments, allowing applicants to pay back what they can reasonably afford. For borrowers on low income over an extended period, the student loan principal may be reduced or eliminated entirely.
Nearly 30,000 B.C. post-secondary students are surveyed annually within two years after graduation. The 2015 surveys showed 93% of all graduates were satisfied with their education.
- Of former apprenticeship students (2,889 respondents from 45 institutions):
- 78% students took their training at a public post-secondary institution.
- When surveyed, 86% had earned their “ticket”.
- 97% of former traditional apprenticeship students were in the labour force and the median hourly wage for those employed was $32.
- Of baccalaureate graduates (9,964 respondents from 20 institutions):
- 43% graduated from an arts or science program.
- 47% had enrolled in further training.
- 89% of baccalaureate graduates were in the labour force; of those not in the labour force, 72% were attending school full-time.
- The median annual income of those who worked full time was $50,000.
- Of diploma, associate degree or certificate students (14,849 respondents from 19 institutions):
- 81% of respondents with an associate degree or university transfer went on to further education.
- 91% of respondents with a diploma or certificate were in the labour force, with a median hourly wage for those employed full-time was $20.