HALIFAX – Figures released earlier this morning by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission confirm that university enrolment in Nova Scotia dropped for the 2014-15 academic year, the first time since 2008.

“This drop in enrolment is further proof that the McNeil government’s policy of downloading the cost of post-secondary education onto the shoulders of students is failing Nova Scotia,” said Michaela Sam, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students – Nova Scotia. “More and more Nova Scotians are opting not to pursue a university degree.”

Between 2005 and 2010, the percentage of Nova Scotians attending university in Nova Scotia fell from 24.1% to 20.6%. Polling released by the Nova Scotia Post-Secondary Education Coalition in 2014 found that 1 in 3 respondents said that they, or someone in their immediate family, chose not to pursue a post-secondary education because of the prospect of taking on too much debt.

Despite dropping enrolment, students across Nova Scotia are being hit with tuition fee increases upwards of 10 to 37 per cent over the next three years as a result of the McNeil government’s move to lift the three per cent cap on annual tuition increases. This tuition fee reset is allowing university administrations to hike students’ fees by an unlimited amount for an undefined period of time.

“At a time when the need for our young people to pursue post-secondary education in Nova Scotia has never been greater, it is entirely counter-productive to increase students’ tuition fees,” said Sam. “Students are uniting to take back education in Nova Scotia and demanding that this government reject these resets and instead restore public funding to our universities.”

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.

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Contact: Michaela Sam, Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students – Nova Scotia

Tel: (902) 999-4318

Alt. tel: (902) 425-4237

Enrollment drops at Nova Scotia’s universities on eve of massive tuition fee hike