HALIFAX— In a petition tabled at 1pm in the Legislative Assembly today, students are calling on the government of Nova Scotia to take action to ensure post-secondary education is accessible and adequately funded by reducing tuition fees, converting student loans to grants and increasing public funding to universities and colleges. Signed by over 4,000 students, this petition comes at a time when Nova Scotia students are facing the fastest rising tuition fees in the country.
“Three thousand fewer students are attending Nova Scotia post-secondary institutions today than a decade ago, the Nova Scotia government has no choice but to increase student access to college and university education,” said Michaela Sam, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students Nova Scotia. Since the government removed the annual cap on tuition fee increases earlier this year, students at King’s College have been threatened with a $1,000 tuition fee increase over the next 2 years, St Mary’s students will see an increase of up to $1,500 over the next 3 years and NSCAD students are facing a fee increase of $2,300 over 3 years.
The petition delivery is accompanied by students’ recommendations for the provincial government to increase access to public post-secondary education in Nova Scotia. The recommendations include reducing tuition fees to 2011 levels, restoring $30 million in recent harmful public funding cuts and converting the provincial portion of student loans into up-front needs-based grants. Students are presenting these recommendations ahead of the 5-year memorandum of understandings (MOU) that the provincial government will sign with the universities and colleges this coming December.
“The government of Nova Scotia is presented with an excellent opportunity to renew its commitment to public post-secondary education and depart from earlier misguided policy decisions with the forthcoming MOU signings,” said Sam. “There is a better path for post-secondary education in Nova Scotia and it’s not to late for our government to work alongside students in the pursuit of accessible education.”
Students are also recommending measures to combat sexualized and gender based violence on university campuses in Nova Scotia. They have called on all political parties to support Bill 114, the Safer Universities and Colleges Act. “Creating an accessible post-secondary education system must start by ensuring students are safe on their campuses,” said Sam. “Sexualized and gender-based violence permeates our campuses, creates barriers for students being able to access the classroom and demands direct attention.”
Students will be meeting with the Liberal Party, New Democratic Party, and Progressive Conservative caucuses to present their recommendations.
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Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students – Nova Scotia
Phone: (902) 999-4318 (cellular)
The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada’s largest students’ organization, uniting more than 500,000 university and college students across the country.