The facts on B.C.'s post-secondary education system

VICTORIA - With less than a month until September, many post- secondary students in British Columbia will be turning their thoughts to university, college or one of the province's institutes.

Here are the facts on post-secondary education in British Columbia.

More opportunity:
* 25 public post-secondary institutions including 11 universities, 11 colleges and three institutes.
* Approximately 100 different trades for which apprenticeship training is available.
* More than 35,000 apprentices currently in the trades training
* The number of medical doctors graduating every year has more than doubled since 2001.
* The number of nursing spaces funded in B.C. has more than doubled since 2001.
* 2,725 Aboriginal students received a credential in 2010-11. That is an increase of more than 600 credentials awarded annually since 2006-07.
* More than 320 private career training institutions in B.C. offering
programs to more than 50,000 students every year.
* More than 32,000 student spaces and seven new public university campuses have been added to the public post-secondary system since 2001.

B.C. students:
* Every year, about 30,000 B.C. post-secondary students are surveyed two years after graduation. Findings include:
... Student satisfaction rates holding steady in the range of 95 per cent.

... 96 per cent of apprenticeship students were in the labour force and making a $28 median hourly wage.

... 87 per cent of baccalaureate graduates were in the work force with a median annual income of $48,000.

... 90 per cent of diploma, associate degree and certificate graduates
were in the workforce.

Paying for school:
* Tuition fees at public post-secondary institutions cover less than one-third of the cost of a post-secondary education. The remaining two-thirds come from the provincial government.
* B.C. student loans are forgiven over a three-year period when professionals - such as nurses, medical doctors, midwives and occupational therapists - agree to work in remote, underserved communities.
* Undergraduate students attending B.C. public post-secondary institutions pay the fourth-lowest tuition in Canada at an average of $5,015.
* About 70 per cent of B.C. students do not use government financial assistance.
* B.C. tuition increases have been capped at two per cent since 2005.
* Government loans are interest-free for students during their studies.
* The median amount borrowed by baccalaureate graduates was $20,000.
* The median amount borrowed by diploma, associate degree and certificate students was $10,000.
* Starting in September 2013, B.C. will offer students free, online, open textbooks for 10 to 15 of the most popular first- and second- year subject areas.

Investments in public post-secondary education:
* Operating grants for post-secondary education have increased by 47 per cent since 2001.
* B.C. taxpayers will put a record $1.9 billion into post-secondary education this year, the equivalent of $5 million every day.
* Over the next three years, government will provide $460 million for capital projects at public post-secondary campuses.
* More than $2.4 billion has been invested in capital and infrastructure projects since 2001, including more than 1,250 capital projects on campuses provincewide.

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