News Release Archive

Student debt and rising costs are growing issues for students
from lower-income households and may be affecting their decision
to undertake post-secondary education.

At the same time, most students are still prepared to pay what it
takes because they see post-secondary education as an absolute
requirement for finding a good job in today's economy. These were
the key findings of Accessibility to Post-Secondary Education in
the Maritimes, a study released today by the Maritime Provinces
Higher Education Commission (MPHEC).

"Students are clearly making the link between more education and
job opportunities," said David Cameron, interim chair of the
commission. "However, the growing student-debt problem in the
Maritimes, particularly combined with the adverse effect of costs
on lower-income students, suggests quite clearly that the debt
issue is becoming a serious social issue threatening the very
notion of fully accessible post-secondary education."

The MPHEC commissioned the study to research issues students
consider when making decisions about post-secondary education,
and to identify some of the barriers that may prevent them from
attending university or college.

Rising student debt and its impact on accessibility have been
increasing concerns for students, institutions and governments
alike. The results of the study should help decision-makers in
resolving the issues in the current debate on accessibility and
debt load.

Conducted by the Angus Reid Group, the three-part study included
an analysis of existing information, the experiences of students
in 19 focus groups, and data gathered by a telephone survey of
Maritime students graduating from high school. The focus groups
comprised Grade 12 students, students in first-year university or
college, post-secondary students carrying substantial debt, and
students who had left post-secondary studies before completion.

The study was a joint project co-sponsored by the New Brunswick
Department of Advanced Education and Labour, the Nova Scotia
Department of Education and Culture, and the Prince Edward Island
Department of Education. It constitutes another example of
fruitful regional co-operation.

The study steering committee was made up of commission members
and representatives of the three provincial governments.

Copies of the report are available by contacting the commission
at 217 Brunswick St., Fredericton, N.B., E3B 5J6; e-mail or phone 506-453-2844.


Contact: Mireille Duguay
         Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission

NOTE TO EDITORS: A backgrounder on key conclusions of the report
is available by e-mailing or calling collect

AU CHEF DES NOUVELLES: Pour version francaise, appeler
902-424-4492 ou c. elec. Un document
d'information est egalement disponible en francais.

ngr                Nov. 12, 1997                 11:55 a.m.