Over the course of a four-year degree, the average BC student will rack up $35,000 in debt, far more than the (already inflated) national average of $27,000. It takes most Canadian graduates seven years to pay back their student debt and 13% of students eventually default on their loans. Student debt and tuition in BC are at an all time high. UBC’s recent decision to increase residence costs by 20% and international tuition by 10% will surely worsen these figures for many incoming students.
Perhaps the reason the UBC administration sees no problem in saddling undergraduates with these burdens is that student debt is a faceless concept to them. They think in student numbers and dollar signs rather than about how individual students are faced with the tangible impacts of debt. We want to push back against that.
After Tuesday’s teach-in at Martha Piper Plaza, come participate in “Facing Our Debt,” The Talon’s photo project. Starting at 1 pm and ending once we’ve gotten through everyone, a volunteer or two from The Talon team will have a table set up on the East side of the fountain (the side closest to the SUB). Look out for a green sign. We’ll be photographing students holding up a white-board with the amount of student debt they will graduate with written on the board. You’re welcome to obscure your face if you wish.
Please come participate in this powerful and historic project. While a first for UBC, we’re acting in solidarity with similar projects taking place in the US to combat the student debt crisis. Check out the NYU Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM) and Queer Union’s “Coming Out of the Debt Closet” project for an example.
* If you’d like to volunteer your time and photography skills for the project, please message our facebook page or e-mail us at email@example.com.
“Students who acquire large debts putting themselves through school are unlikely to think about changing society. When you trap people in a system of debt, they can’t afford the time to think. Tuition fee increases are a ‘disciplinary technique,’ and, by the time students graduate, they are not only loaded with debt, but have also internalized the ‘disciplinarian culture.’ This makes them efficient components of the consumer economy.”
– Noam Chomsky