DAWSON CREEK -- The Northern Lights College Board of Governors has approved a 2 percent increase in tuition for domestic students.

The move comes as the college’s 2023-24 operational budget was approved by the Board. There will also be a 5.4% increase to the tuition of international students.

According to the BC Federation of Student, tuition fees have more than doubled across the province since 2001. In 2000, the average fee was $2,500, while in 2019, the average was over $5,900, according to the federation.

Those rising fees, paired with the rise in inflation, is putting graduation from a college or university out of reach for many, said the student group.

That financial strain for students is then contributing to the labour shortage affecting many sectors in the province, according to the federation. The federation says $200 million is needed to stabilize funding for post-secondary institutions

"We want institutions to be adequately funded so students don’t have to pay as much, so that their enrollment rates stay consistent," said Quinn Cunningham, secretary treasurer for the BC Federation of Students

According to the College, funding for a number of new positions was included in the budget. A few of these new positions include:

  • A second student recruiter to service the northern part of the college catchment area
  • Two education advisors to provide guidance and create cohesive academic plans for students
  • An additional program support clerk for the Academic and Vocational division
  • A janitor for the Dawson Creek campus
  • A facilities worker for the Fort St. John campus
  • An Educational Technician and an Operations Manager in the IT department

On the faculty side, there was a marked shift away from sessional to regular staffing to allow for flexibility and stability of course delivery, according to the college.

The total budget amounted to just over $4.8 million with a small projected surplus of $50,322.

According to President Todd Bondaroff, the budget “is indicative of Northern Lights College’s strong position and, more importantly, of our commitment to students to provide the highest quality education and training right here in the North.”



With files from CTV Vancouver Island and Todd Harmer