New fee to address health/wellness/transitions for Selkirk students
The Selkirk College Board of Governors has approved a Student Service Fee that will focus on student health and wellness, and supporting students to transition to employment.
At its regular board meeting on Tuesday evening at the Castlegar Campus, the Board approved the fee which will take effect in the 2016-2017 school year. The fee will cover services not currently funded through base budget operations and will amount to $139 on average per year for a typical student.
“The Student Service Fee will allow Selkirk College to continue with the important work being done in areas that ultimately assist in supporting students to be successful while in our programs and in gaining employment as they transition out of college,” says Sharel Wallace, chair of the Board of Governors.
“The Board is very cognizant of the stress students are under when it comes to financial pressure and this decision was discussed at length. Selkirk College is 18th out of 25 public post-secondary institutions in B.C. when it comes to the cost of tuition and fees. Even with this new fee our position doesn’t change, 17 institutions will still be more expensive than Selkirk. Our regional college will remain highly accessible for current and future learners.”
Over the past five years, Selkirk College has seen an increase of 240 per cent in reported student situations of mental health challenges. Pilot projects in this area over the last few years have demonstrated positive outcomes and a portion of the new fee will enable these supports to continue.
“The health and wellness of our students is of the utmost importance,” says Selkirk College Vice President of Education & Students Neil Coburn. “Continuing to take a proactive approach to an issue that is far too prevalent at campuses across Canada will ensure that our students have the resources they need to focus on personal success.”
In addition to programming in health and wellness, Selkirk College is joining other post-secondary institutions across the province in ensuring campuses and learning centres across the West Kootenay-Boundary are free from sexual violence. The new fee will provide funds for the continuation of a variety of initiatives that are underway provincially and nationally.
Enhancing opportunities for Selkirk College students to put their learning to work is a priority and increased access to the Student Career Portal will be addressed with the additional funding derived from the Student Service Fee.
“The Student Career Portal connects students with employers, both in terms of co-op opportunities and post-graduation careers,” says Coburn. “This is an important tool for students and in order to ensure it serves the needs, a consistent stream of funding is required.”
The Board of Governors also approved a motion that will allow Selkirk College to start charging tuition for developmental education which includes Adult Basic Education (ABE), Adult Special Education (ASE) and English as a Second Language (ESL) for domestic students. In late-2014, the Provincial Government announced a change in funding to this important area that acts as a feeder system to post-secondary. For many learners, these programs provide an access point to post-secondary education.
“Though these programs will no longer be free, the new provincial Adult Upgrading Grant and a new Selkirk College bursary program will enable the vast majority of students who require this educational pathway to still access it at no cost,” says Coburn. “A pilot program at Nelson’s Silver King Campus starting this summer will provide an opportunity for us to ensure that we continue to deliver this vital stream of programming in a manner that is both accessible and affordable.”
A provincially allowed two per cent increase to all tuition fees will also be applied starting in the 2016-2017 school year. The average tuition and fees for a full-time student at Selkirk College starting in September will be $3,234 for both semesters.