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Dix proposes $100-million-a-year student grants program Add to ...

NDP leadership hopeful Adrian Dix is proposing to create a $100-million student grants program funded from his proposal to restore the minimum tax on financial institutions.

Monday's announcement at the downtown campus of Vancouver Community College continues Mr. Dix's bid to outline spending priorities from his plan to roll back corporate tax cuts to 2008 levels and direct the revenues to various targets.

Of the student-grant plan, Mr. Dix said he expected the plan would help thousands of students who would receive funds on a needs basis, but said he did not have specific forecast figures.

"We would be developing the program to ensure it would help the maximum number of students," he told reporters..

"The students who would be most helped are the students, who are not able to go today to post-secondary education because they can't afford it."

The proposal was applauded by the British Columbia wing of the Canadian Federation of Students.

In a statement, their chairperson, Nimmi Takkar, said only 12 per cent of B.C. student aid is non-repayable.

That level puts B.C. 66 per cent below the national average of non-repayable student financial assistance, Ms. Takkar said.

"At a time when three out of four new jobs will require some post-secondary education, we know access to post-secondary will play a key role in growing our economy," said Ms. Takkar.

"Students are calling on all candidates to take action to make affordable education a leadership issue."

Mr. Dix is among five candidates seeking the leadership of the provincial New Democrats. Party members choose the new leader on April. 17.

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