Click here to read a full version of Getting The Most From Our Universities, A New Approach to System Planning and Funding in Nova Scotia or a summary of recommendations.

In this position paper, we critically examine the University Funding Distribution Formula (UFDF) used by the Province to allocate operating grants to Nova Scotia’s 10 universities. We find that the UFDF overemphasizes student enrolment, encouraging institutional growth at the expense of other important factors (e.g. teaching quality, student support). Furthermore, the UFDF does little to promote accountability within the university system.

To address these issues, StudentsNS proposes a new approach to system planning and funding that should include: (1) collaboration between StudentsNS, the Province, and the Universities as full partners in future Memoranda of Understanding; (2) the creation of a Post-Secondary Policy and Accountability Framework setting clear policy objectives for the PSE system as well as transparency and accountability mechanisms to focus universities’ efforts toward reaching those objectives; and (3) reforms to the existing UFDF deemphasizing enrolment and encouraging institutional behaviours that promote student success and/or advance economic, social, and cultural objectives essential to the future of Nova Scotia. These reforms would move Nova Scotia closer to our vision of a PSE system that is accessible, affordable, of the highest quality, and that includes students in decision-making.