HALIFAX – Measures announced in today’s provincial budget will permit Nova Scotia universities to establish their own tuition fee rates for next year, and permanently remove out-of-province and graduate students from tuition cap coverage. These measures will seriously undermine Nova Scotia’s ability to keep young people in this province.
“This budget opens the door to Nova Scotia once again having the highest tuition fees and debt loads in the country,” said Michaela Sam, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia. “Young people in this province are being told their higher education isn’t worth the investment, something that proves how out of touch the Nova Scotia Liberal Party’s priorities are right now.”
Today’s budget announces major changes to tuition fee levels and student financial assistance in Nova Scotia. Tuition fees for all students will be determined by internal tuition resets as determined by each institution, with no government oversight. The debt cap program will no longer cover the roughly 1500 Nova Scotians studying outside the province.
“Students who were guaranteed coverage by the debt cap program are being completely blindsided by this announcement,” said Sam. “Internal tuition resets are not an example of the accountable governance that Nova Scotians expect from our universities.”
The Government of Nova Scotia conducted an extensive set of consultations on post-secondary education throughout the fall of 2014. The results of these consultations showed overwhelming public support for stricter government oversight of university tuition, ancillary, and auxiliary fees, and reducing tuition fees. 85% of Nova Scotians who took part in the survey were opposed to universities being able to set fees independently, and 60% of participants were not opposed to paying higher taxes if it meant reduced tuition fees.
“Nova Scotians provided this government with a clear mandate to develop a youth retention strategy that includes reducing tuition fees,” said Sam. “The Liberals have neglected that mandate, and betrayed stakeholders who have called on them to strengthen our post-secondary education system and keep young people here in Nova Scotia to start growing our economy.”
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.
Contact: Michaela Sam, Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students – Nova Scotia, Tel: (902) 999-4318
Contact: Sarah Trower, Campaign Coordinator, Canadian Federation of Students – Nova Scotia, Tel: (902) 802-0055