Ulysse Ishimwe was among eight students from North Island College to participate in a recent video conference with Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
They were the lone representatives from B.C., joining students from six other schools around the country as Morneau began pre-budget consultations.
Each school was allotted two questions.
“It was a really interesting experience,” said Ishimwe, 27, a business student who has a degree in electrical engineering. He also sits on the NIC board of governors and the education council. “Good discussion. It was really positive and encouraging.”
Fellow NIC student Mary Rickinson asked Morneau about increasing the age limit for federal youth employment strategies to better meet the needs of mature students. The average age of NIC students is 26, with many retraining for new careers. Morneau said the idea warranted further discussion, and is worthy of government consideration.
“The cost of living is going to be higher, and tuition fees also are getting higher,” said Ishimwe, noting many questions concerned student loans.
He said there were some good ideas for programs to help students access loans, to graduate with less debt and to gain employment.
Morneau is travelling across Canada to discuss budget ideas. Submit ideas online and via Twitter, using the hashtag #Budget2017 or visit http://budget-lebudget.ca/