|Backgrounder(s) & FactSheet(s):||Backgrounder|
KELOWNA – Government will add 5,500 new spaces for post-secondary students in the Okanagan by 2010 by establishing two new institutions in the region: a new University of British Columbia, Okanagan, and a bigger, better Okanagan College that will expand university transfer, trades and other applied training options.
“For the first time ever, the people of the Okanagan will have their own full university, directed by an independent senate to meet the unique needs and priorities of the Southern Interior,” Premier Gordon Campbell said today. “The Okanagan will become home to one of the world’s great learning universities with all the enormous assets and research capability that it has to offer. We’re also establishing a bigger and better Okanagan College that will offer top-notch programs, including more access and training to prepare tradespeople for the many careers opening up as our economy grows.”
The new institutions are expected to pump $500 million a year into the region through growth in students and staff, as well as spinoffs from research. By 2010, government will invest $100 million in capital funding, plus $52 million in added operating funds – creating more than 2,000 new jobs. UBC will also contribute funding from its own resources towards developing the campus in Kelowna.
The new university and college are part of the Province’s commitment to add 25,000 public post-secondary spaces by 2010, and to help ensure that any high school graduate with a 75 per cent average gain access to a B.C. university.
The newly formed Okanagan College will offer expanded training options at what is currently Okanagan University College’s KLO Road campus in Kelowna, as well as at the existing campuses in Revelstoke, Armstrong, Vernon, Salmon Arm, Summerland, Penticton Oliver and Osoyoos. Students planning to take applied and college-oriented programs through Okanagan University College in September 2004 will see an immediate benefit – a $1,000 reduction in their tuition.
“In regions with a separate college and university, college tuition is typically lower than at the university,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Advanced Education. “We want Okanagan students to have that distinction right away, even while the transition into two separate institutions is still underway.” Tuition for university-track students will remain the same.
The North Kelowna campus of Okanagan University College will become the base for UBC Okanagan, with the first students entering in September 2005. UBC will work with Okanagan College to expand university-level programming in the regional centres as well.
“People in the Okanagan have been telling me for years they wanted a full-fledged university and I’m thrilled we are able to make that commitment today,” said Kelowna-Lake Country MLA John Weisbeck. “This is a dream come true for me and many people who have worked a long time to see this happen. Having UBC Okanagan together with Okanagan College will bring incredible opportunities for our young people and the future of this region.”
“The new UBC Okanagan campus will be developed by people in this region, for people in this region,” said Brad Bennett, former chair of the Okanagan University College board of governors. “We will have an independent senate that will develop the new campus’s admissions and academic mandate, and guaranteed seats on the UBC board of governors.” Bennett has been appointed chair of the regional advisory committee that will determine the programs and research that will best serve the Okanagan region’s specific needs.
An advisory group will also be appointed to guide the development of Okanagan College and ensure the region’s needs for applied, developmental and trades training are met. It will be chaired by former Okanagan University College board member Norm Embree.
For more information on AchieveBC visit http://www.achievebc.ca/.