April 19, 2016

Nova Scotia Budget 2016-2017 misses the mark on post-secondary education

For Immediate Release
April 19th, 2016

Halifax, N.S. – Students in Nova Scotia are disappointed that today’s budget address missed the mark on post-secondary education. In fact, the budget address delivered by Minister Delorey provided few supports for post-secondary students.

“With eleven post-secondary institutions in this province, it is terribly unfortunate that this government has chosen not to make the success of their students a priority,” said Fallis Thompson, Chair of Students Nova Scotia. “This government chose not to invest in student assistance, under-represented communities, or the health of our international students.”

When this year has already brought progressive, innovative announcements surrounding the student assistance programs in Ontario and New Brunswick, StudentsNS was hoping to see Nova Scotia follow suit. Nova Scotia must make its students’ ability to attend post-secondary education a priority to ensure an accessible and affordable system.

While the government missed the mark on post-secondary education support, the government did make important investments in graduate research funding, experiential learning, and sexualized violence prevention. “Today, StudentsNS was pleased to see this government invest in youth experiential learning, committing to create 600 new co-op positions, 150 new summer jobs, and 75 new public sector jobs,” said Brandon Ellis, Vice-President Universities. “This will ensure our university and college students have access to experiential learning in this province.”

As well, in the budget released today, the government has invested another $1 million into the graduate scholarship fund that StudentsNS has continually advocated for bringing the total investment to $3.7 million. This investment will allow our young graduates to continue their research here in Nova Scotia and contribute to the Nova Scotia economy.

Finally, this budget makes an important investment into the prevention of sexualized violence in Nova Scotia. In the Budget Address, Minister Delorey announced $2.7 million in programs that will contribute to community driven prevention programs and the support of survivors by ensuring that a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner continues to expand across the province.

This budget made a strong statement about the goals of the post-secondary education system, but did not provide a fiscally supported pathway to achieve such goals. Budget 2016 states, the “goals [for the province publically supported institutions] include a more educated population, larger annual research funding, higher immigration, increase employment rate for Aboriginal and African Nova Scotians, a lower youth unemployment rate, and fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.” StudentsNS will continue to work with this government to ensure further investments are made.

Unfortunately, the budget that was delivered today was one that focused on the bottom line, rather than supporting the growth of Nova Scotia through strategic investments in its youth.

“This government could have done more for its post-secondary students and youth retention. StudentsNS made reasonable, pragmatic asks in its pre-budget submission and those were not delivered on today. We hope to continue to work collaboratively with this government and the other parties in this province to ensure that our priorities are addressed,” concluded Nick Head-Petersen, Executive Director of StudentsNS.

For more information, please contact:

Sophie Helpard, Executive Director
Phone: 902.496.8203
Email: [email protected]

Or

Annie Sirois , Vice-Chair of StudentsNS
Phone:
Email: [email protected]

Collette Robert, Chair of StudentsNS
Phone:
Email: [email protected]

Students Nova Scotia is a not-for-profit and non-partisan advocacy and research group that represents post-secondary students from across Nova Scotia. Our members include Acadia, Cape Breton, Saint Mary’s, and St. Francis Xavier Universities, the Kingstec and Annapolis Valley Campuses of the Nova Scotia Community College, and the Atlantic School of Theology.