September 4, 2013

For Immediate Release

Halifax, N.S. —Nova Scotia students have repeated their calls for a freeze in tuition, as the Maritime Provinces’ Higher Education Commission (MPHEC) confirmed today that tuition in Nova Scotia grew faster than inflation again this year. Universities across the province increased their tuition by 3 percent, the maximum allowed by the Province, while provincial operating grants were cut by 3 percent.

“Nova Scotia’s students and grads have among the world’s highest debt levels and are facing high unemployment and falling earnings, even though in the next decade 70 percent of new jobs will require a post-secondary credential”, said StudentsNS Executive Director, Jonathan Williams. “Tuition shouldn’t be growing at all under these conditions, let alone faster than inflation.”

“We object strongly to government offloading university costs onto students”, said StudentsNS Chair, Jared Perry. “Government needs to safeguard student dollars just as carefully as tax dollars for Nova Scotia to get the best possible value from our universities.”

StudentsNS argues that universities must be funded more fairly based on students’ and the Province’s ability to pay. They have recommended that tuition should be frozen at 0 percent nominal growth until the difference between the employment rates for 20-24 year-olds and the rest of the workforce returns to pre-recession levels. When youth employment recovers, tuition growth should be frozen at inflation. StudentsNS has also recommended that government funding to universities grow at the rate of provincial economic growth (2.3 percent nominal growth expected in 2013).

However, Williams noted that student assistance is the most important tool for making post-secondary education more affordable. “The $23 million in improvements to the Nova Scotia Student Assistance Program over the past three years are tangibly improving post-secondary affordability, especially for students with the greatest financial need. Further student assistance improvements represent the most effective means to cut debt and provide students the resources they need while studying.”

StudentsNS will be releasing an extensive report in the fall examining Nova Scotia’s student assistance program and student and graduate tax credits.

To access StudentsNS’ report on Fairness in University Funding click here. For fact sheets summarizing some of the report findings click here.

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For more information or questions, please contact:

Jonathan Williams

StudentsNS Executive Director

(O) 902.422.4068

(C) 902.483.5480

(E) director@studentsns.ca