News Release Archive

A series of far-reaching recommendations on the future role of
the federal government in higher education have been presented to
the senate sub-committee on post-secondary education by
representatives of the Maritime Provinces Higher Education
Commission (MPHEC).

"The substantial cuts in cash transfers for education from the
federal government are having a serious effect on universities
and students in the Maritimes," said Dr. David Cameron, MPHEC
interim chair.

One result of the cuts has been an increase in average annual
tuition from $1,700 to $2,700 between 1984 and 1995.

Dr. Cameron said students, universities and the entire Maritime
community are suffering as a result of the cuts. "Our students
are being hurt by higher tuition costs and burdened with
increased debt," he said. "In some cases, worthy young people are
now unable to afford the cost of a university education."

Universities, he said, are suffering in a number of ways. "They
are having difficulty maintaining their current facilities, let
alone responding to changing technologies and workplace demands.
What's more, their ability to foster research, which creates new
developments, technologies and business opportunities, is
severely hampered by inadequate funding."

In light of the federal government's stress on Canada's need to
compete in the global information age and on regional
self-sufficiency, Cameron said he finds the lack of support for
universities "short-sighted and counter-productive."

On behalf of the MPHEC, Dr. Cameron presented 17 recommendations
to the senate sub-committee, in Halifax as part of its
cross-country tour to examine the state of post-secondary
education in Canada.

Included in the recommendations were calls for stable,
predictable federal funding for post-secondary education,
assistance in the development of new technology infrastructure,
measures to lighten students' financial burdens, and increased
research support.

The MPHEC also addressed other barriers students face in their
access to education and training as provincial governments
struggle to make do with less.

Among the changes being taken or considered in some Canadian
provinces, Dr. Cameron explained, are charging higher fees to
out-of-province students and providing student aid only to
students who study in their home province. The MPHEC has
recommended the federal government withdraw funding resources
from provinces taking these actions.

In presenting the MPHEC recommendations, Dr. Cameron said they
represent the views of a broad cross-section of Maritimers.

The MPHEC was formed in 1973 with members from the three Maritime
provinces, including representatives of the provincial
governments, universities, students and the general public.

"For nearly 25 years, we have been helping the whole Maritime
region make the very best use of all our university resources,"
he said.


Contact: Dr. David Cameron  902-494-6626

trp                       Feb. 19, 1997 - 10 a.m.