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BC government to review post-secondary funding

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The provincial government says it will review how it funds 25 public post-secondary institutions.

The government says the current funding model hasn’t been updated in more than 20 years and has “created constraints and inequities” for some institutions.

According to a news release, the goal of the review is to come up with a model that “fairly and impartially distributes” money across the post-secondary sector and matches the education and skills training needs of the communities those institutions serve.

The review will focus on block funding that the institutions receive for general operations, which accounts for about three quarters of government operating grants. Current funding is tied to the previous year’s grants, not to specific programs or student seats, the province said.

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Targeted funding, which accounts for the remaining quarter of operating grants for high-demand jobs like health and technology, is not included in the review.

The province says in the first phase it will talk to students, unions, institutions, and sector associations. They will also come up with a process for talking to Indigenous Peoples in collaboration with a variety of First Nations and Métis groups.

The public engagement phase will be led by former BCIT president and deputy minister Don Wright. The second phase, to be led by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training with support from Wright and consultant Dan Perrin, will come up with options to design a new funding model.

Institutions to be consulted include the College of New Caledonia, UNBC, Selkirk College, College of the Rockies, Vancouver Island University, and North Island College.

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