NIC fee increase ‘regrettable,’ but services are badly needed

North Island College (NIC) students will soon have access to new support services, including a Learning Commons, expanded counselling and increased student engagement opportunities, including leadership workshops and recreational activities, according to a release from the college, but, unfortunatley, they will be paying $5 more per credit to receive them.

Lisa Domae, NIC’s Vice President of Learning and Students, says NIC has been trying to find funding for these services for years.

“While it is always regrettable to increase costs for students,” Domae said in the release on the increase to fees and services, “these fees will enable NIC to provide long awaited and much-needed support services. Now for the first time, we will have dedicated funds to develop the strong supportive services that students have been asking for.”

According to the release, for the extra $5 per credit, NIC students will receive, “a Learning Commons with dedicated technology, math, writing and academic support and research resources,” an increase in counselling services, along with increased “Student Engagement,” which includes various leadership workshops and opportunities, recreational activities and other community-building initiatives, according to the release.

“The proposed services will benefit students and address an obvious need for resources, however, the student fee is a symptom of the chronic underfunding in BC’s post-secondary system,” said North Island Students’ Union (NISU) representative Jessica Sandy. “It is unfortunate that these services, traditionally funded by the provincial government, will be paid for on the backs of NIC students.”

NIC’s Board of Governors approved the fee at its last board meeting as part of its focus on supporting even greater student success at the college.

“Although we’re hesitant to support additional costs for students, we are encouraged these fees will support students,” said NIC Faculty Association president Shirley Ackland. “We know budgets are limited and you can’t run a college on air. As faculty, our focus is always about helping students succeed.”

The fee increase does not apply to adult upgrading students, ESL students or students with disabilities in access programs.

For more information on NIC’s programs and services, go to nic.bc.ca