New minister visits campus
Student government meets with provincial government.
On November 26, British Columbia’s newly appointed Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation, and Technology arrived at Trinity Western University in his 19th visit out of British Columbia’s 25 universities and colleges. Minister John Yap even made a point of meeting with TWU’s own government, TWUSA, to answer questions and impart his wisdom on the post-secondary system.
Alberta’s government recently changed their student loan process, as they no longer ask for parental income information on their application form. In response, Minister Yap acknowledged the change in our neighbouring province and stated that BC has an “accessible and affordable” student loan system. 80 million dollars from the provincial budget goes towards funding the student aid program. He maintained that changing the financial information requirements on the student loan form is not on the table currently, but he will look at the budget next year to see if revisions need to be made.
In regards to a partnership between Trinity Western University and British Columbia, Minister Yap affirmed that even though we are a private university, the government would like to collaborate with certain requests. By being a private institution, Yap said we have “more ability and privilege to run our university, as compared to others.” Some possible future collaborations involve the TWU Law school, access to other university libraries, transfer scholarships, and approving a student U-Pass program for public transit. Many of these ideas are even more relevant with the activation of the new express bus route from Langley to New Westminster.
Minister Yap informed us that one the biggest projects for advanced education at the moment is a free online textbook program. Taking cues from California and Washington, the BC government is going to make the 40 most popular textbooks free to first and second-year students in the 2013/2014 school year. This way, students can download them on their iPads, laptops, and e-readers. Once the government gets a system in place for choosing popular textbooks, Yap promised that it would eventually be available to all post-secondary students.
Minister Yap finished off the meeting by declaring that “students are the future” and if anyone at TWU has questions, they should contact him via Twitter (@John_Yap).