BC advanced education minister defends funding for VIU

August 11, 2010

BC Advanced Education Minister Moira Stilwell says the province is putting "record spending" into BC's post-secondary institutions, despite criticism the government has not kept up with rising operational costs at Vancouver Island University, which has had to trim $4.7 million to balance its budget, cutting costs through staff and course section reductions. Meanwhile, enrolment at VIU is expected to increase by 14% this fall, and officials warn there will be longer waiting lists for the more popular courses. Both VIU and its student union say a lack of provincial funding is to blame. The university says government funding makes up about 40% of its budget, compared to 60% in 2000. Stilwell says BC is spending more on PSE despite the recession, and government funding makes up closer to half of VIU's budget. The minister expects that a future economic recovery will balance out the current high demand for education. However, VIU officials have said they expect enrolment to continue to rise with a health economy, as the region becomes more reliant on knowledge-based industries requiring additional training. Nanaimo Daily News