For Immediate Release
Nova Scotia students are frustrated by the Provincial Government’s decision to permit 3% tuition growth at Nova Scotia’s universities for the 2014-15. The news comes just weeks after the Province eliminated the Graduate Retention Rebate and cut $35 million from support for students and graduates.
“We are very disappointed by another decision to increase the financial burden on Nova Scotia’s students and graduates,” said StudentsNS Chair, Amy Brierley. “This government criticized the previous government’s cuts and tuition hikes, but is doing just the same now that they are in power.”
Tuition remains deregulated for international and professional students. The tuition growth will partially counterbalance the fourth consecutive year of real cuts to university operating grants. Grants have fallen by $62.8 million relative to inflation. This is also the first year since 2011-12 that the tuition increase has not been significantly counterbalanced by student assistance program investments.
“Our government is continuing to shift the cost of post-secondary education onto students and their families”, said StudentsNS Vice Chair, Matthew Rios. “These tuition increases, coupled with reduced support for graduates, will increase student debt, weaken graduates’ ability to pay it back and weaken Nova Scotia’s ability to retain our young people.”
StudentsNS is also concerned about the impact of funding cuts on education quality and institutional sustainability. Often student services suffer the most from difficult financial circumstances.
“These cuts unquestionably impact on the quality of education for our students”, said Brierley. “They are weakening very important services, like counseling and health services, as well as academic quality including faculty hiring and library budgets.”
Multiple universities in Nova Scotia have faced very difficult financial circumstances in recent years.
“Nova Scotia’s strong universities are among the best assets we have to create social, economic and cultural prosperity in this province”, said Rios. “We cannot continue to both cut funding and have a top quality university system. When will these cuts stop?”
The Province is also further increasing student financial contributions to the universities without reinforcing accountability and transparency requirements for institutions. StudentsNS has repeatedly expressed serious concerns with institutional accountability.
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Students Nova Scotia (StudentsNS) is a not-for-profit and non-partisan advocacy group that represents 38,452 Nova Scotia post-secondary students, including 87% of the university student population. Our members study at Acadia, Cape Breton, Dalhousie, Saint Mary’s, and St. Francis Xavier Universities, the Kingstec Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, and the Atlantic School of Theology.
For more information or questions, please contact:
Jonathan Williams, StudentsNS Executive Director
Amy Brierley, StudentsNS Chair
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