Education squeeze in Surrey

April 5, 2013

Surrey is stuck in an education squeeze. The booming BC municipality is home to the largest number of youth in the province, who have limited access to local PSE. In her annual address last week, Mayor Dianne Watts stressed that Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus needs 2,500 more student spaces and Kwantlen Polytechnic University another 3,500 to meet demand. With limited spots, admissions are increasingly restrictive with rising entrance grades. SFU president Andrew Petter would like to accommodate more local students, and has been lobbying the province to make good on a 2006 MOU to increase the campus's funded full-time equivalent spaces from 2,500 to 5,000 by 2015, starting with 800 new spaces in 2013. Operating at 102% funded capacity, Kwantlen's space crunch has meant waitlists for in-demand programs. One student says he's seen evidence of campus crowding; more than once he has had to delay courses or take them at the Richmond campus when the Surrey campus courses were full. Kwantlen president Alan Davis says that kind of outcome is "ridiculous" and contrary to the community-focused education his university strives to provide. Vancouver Province