HALIFAX—While today’s budget makes small investments in student financial assistance and job creation programs for youth, it will do little to offset the impact of looming tuition fee hikes over the next two years. Tuition fees are projected to increase by 5.6% in 2017 and 2018, which translates into an additional $400 per year for undergraduate students.
“This government’s disastrous tuition fee policy means that by 2019 students will be paying over $1800 more in tuition fees each year to complete their degree,” said Charlotte Kiddell, Chairperson for Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia. “Today’s budget has been balanced on the backs of students who are taking on record high levels of student debt, debt that will deter students from staying in Nova Scotia and growing the economy after they graduate.”
Today’s budget includes $3.4 million in new spending for student assistance and $7.1 million in new spending for job creation and apprentice support. These amounts pale in comparison to the $49.5 million the government cut from student support when it eliminated the Graduate Retention Rebate in 2014.
Tuition fees in Nova Scotia are the second highest in Canada, at $7,218 for the 2016-17 academic year, compared to a national average of $6,373. Throughout 2016, there were 2,600 fewer youth employed than the previous year.
“Today’s budget proves that this government lacks the vision and political will to solve the crisis young people in Nova Scotia face today,” said Kiddell. “The impending election is an opportunity for all political parties to present real solutions that will reduce barriers to access post-secondary education, eliminate provincial student debt, and create thousands of new jobs for youth.”
The Canadian Federation of Students is the oldest and largest national student organization in Canada, representing over 650,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students across the country.
For more information:
Charlotte Kiddell, Chairperson, CFS-NS, (902) 580-5735
David Etherington, Organizer, CFS-NS, (902) 292-7991