July 4, 2012

(Halifax) – Student leaders from across Nova Scotia released a statement today rejecting the increases to student fees contained in the 2012-13 NSCAD Operating Budget and decrying the provincial government’s disrespect of the spirit of its engagements with students under the 2011 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

“Chronic under-funding coupled with an archaic governance model is leaving students holding the bag yet again”, said Kyle Power, ANSSA Chairperson.

At NSCAD, the new fees will cost full-time students at least $190 more per year, in addition to a 3% increase in tuition, just as the university is cutting course offerings, increasing class sizes and reducing services.

“Students will be paying more for less; definitely a step back”, said Power.

The increase in ancillary fees represents an end-run around government regulation of tuition fees in the MOU. Other provinces, like Ontario, firmly regulate ancillary fees by requiring that fees pay for costs distinguishable from those covered by tuition, and that all new fees are approved by students’ representative bodies.

“In Ontario, these new fees would be illegal”, said Power. “They should be in Nova Scotia too”.

Students noted that the cost of delivering NSCAD’s arts programming is not fully taken into account by the government’s funding model, which leaves the university scrambling to make ends meet. Heightened costs include studio space that cannot host as many students as a traditional lecture-hall, and the cost of creative materials and equipment.

“Universities have to pay the real costs of programming, so why doesn’t the government?” asked Jonathan Williams, ANSSA Executive Director

Students continue to vehemently oppose a post-secondary governance model that allows the kind of financial mismanagement that occurred at NSCAD to happen and ultimately leaves students footing the bill.

“We continue to call on the Province to establish a Higher Education Council, setting standards for accountability and transparency at Nova Scotia universities, and to protect the most vulnerable of the post-secondary community: the students”, said Williams.

ANSSA noted that increased student voice in university decision-making would also help ensure responsible financial management, as students are driven to keep costs down so that post-secondary education remains accessible and affordable.

The Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations (ANSSA) is a not-for-profit, non-partisan advocacy group that represents over 80% of Nova Scotia university students. Our 35,000 members study at Acadia, Cape Breton, Dalhousie, Saint Mary’s, and St. Francis Xavier Universities and the Atlantic School of Theology.

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For more information, please contact:

Jonathan Williams, ANSSA Executive Director

Phone: 902 422 4068

Email: ed@anssa.ca