Victoria – Students across BC celebrated a huge win yesterday when Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced in the budget speech that the BC Government will lower the interest rate on student loans. Effective August 1, 2017, the interest rate on student loans will be reduced from prime plus 2.5% to prime only. Years of coordinated lobbying efforts by BC’s post-secondary students has resulted in a win that improves affordability for students.
“UVic students applaud the BC Government for reducing student loan interest and the burden of student debt,” said UVSS Director of Campaigns and Community Relations Maxwell Nicholson. “Working with other student unions across BC to make the student voice heard can pay huge dividends.”
A recent survey of students at 10 post-secondary institutions across BC conducted by Insights West in collaboration with the Alma Mater Society shows that 38% of students have taken out student loans. These students leave school with an average student loan burden of just over $27,000. Reducing the interest rate on these loans makes it easier for students to transition from university to their careers, allowing graduates to save and invest without the burden of high interest rates.
“While students at UVic are excited by the reduction in interest rates, there are still many student issues that were not addressed in the 2017 BC Budget,” said Nicholson. “There is a pressing need for access to affordable on-campus housing, core-funding increases for essential support services, and a comprehensive needs-based grants program.”
In the run up to the May 2017 provincial election, the UVSS will continue to work with other student unions in BC to advocate for post-secondary issues and to encourage youth voter participation. The UVSS will be launching the Count On Our Vote campaign in the coming weeks.
The University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) was established in 1964 and represents the 18,000 undergraduate students at the University of Victoria.
UVSS Director of Campaigns & Community Relations