HALIFAX – The outcomes of the provincial government’s consultation on post-secondary education, released today, omits entirely the contributions made by students earlier in the fall. While the results of the student consultation showed support for reduced tuition fees, increased public funding for universities, converting student loans to grants, increased support for contingent faculty, and protecting the autonomy of university governance and public funding from private-sector influence, not one of these recommendations were included in today’s presentation.
“Students took part in these consultations expecting our recommendations to be reflected in the outcomes, and we are bitterly disappointed to see they are being disregarded,” said Michaela Sam, Chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students – Nova Scotia. “This government is ignoring students in order to pursue the same policies that were in place before this process even began.”
Last month, student representatives presented Minister of Finance Diana Whalen and Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Kelly Regan with a series of proposals to make post-secondary education in Nova Scotia more accessible and of higher quality. These proposals included converting all provincial student loans to grants, restoring government funding cut since 2011, and reducing tuition fees to 2011 levels. These proposals were part of a robust strategy to improve youth retention in Nova Scotia.
“Our province needs to look at Newfoundland and Labrador, where low tuition fees have lead to a exponential increase in the number of young Nova Scotians moving there to pursue a post-secondary education,” said Sam. “Continued cuts to student assistance and increases to tuition fees will only make it harder for us to keep our young people in Nova Scotia.”
Polling conducted by the Nova Scotia Post-Secondary Education Coalition released in 2014 showed broad public support for reducing tuition fees and increasing university funding, and found that 60% of Nova Scotians would pay higher taxes to see this happen.
The Canadian Federation of Students, Canada’s national student movement, is comprised of nearly one-half million students from over 80 college and university students’ unions. Students in Canada have been represented by the Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organisations since 1927.
For more information:
Michaela Sam, Chairperson – Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia: (902) 999-4318
David Etherington, Maritimes Organiser – Canadian Federation of Students: (902) 292-7991