News release

University Degree Still A Good Investment

MARITIME PROVINCES HIGHER EDUCATION--University Degree Still A Good Investment


Two years after graduating from universities in the Maritimes, members of the class of 1999 enjoy high employment rates, earn more than previous graduates and are satisfied with their education.

Even though more graduates borrowed more money and are coping with significantly greater debt loads than members of previous classes, the vast majority still agree that the money and time invested in their degree was worth it.

These are the key findings of the Survey of 1999 Maritime University Graduates in 2001, released today, May 13, by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC).

The survey, the fourth in MPHEC's ongoing program, explored themes of student debt, the transition between education and the work force, evaluation of the educational program and mobility.

"On the whole, this graduating class has been quite successful -- not only are they enjoying high employment rates, but more than three-quarters of working graduates have found jobs that are at least somewhat related to their field of study," said Mireille Duguay, chief executive officer of the commission.

Ms. Duguay said class of 1999 graduates earned an average of $36,192 annually, an estimated 20 per cent more than the class of 1996.

Survey findings also showed that class of 1999 graduates accumulated significantly more debt than the class of 1996.

"If you combine all sources of loans -- government student loan programs, banks, family members or other sources -- the average debt for this graduating class is $20,918," said Mark Frison, a member of MPHEC and chair of the working group that oversaw preparation of the report. "Compared to the class of 1996, we've seen significant changes in student debt. The average amount borrowed is up 30 per cent and the proportion of graduates who borrowed $30,000 or more has doubled."

Ms. Duguay said the former students still believed the investment was worthwhile. "Although debt has increased, so have earnings. And the majority of graduates reflecting back on their education agree that their investments of time and money had been worth it. All things considered, it's clear that a university degree continues to be a wise investment."

The Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission was established in 1974. Its mission is to assist institutions and governments in enhancing the post-secondary learning environment. MPHEC's 19 members are drawn from the Maritime provinces and represent higher education institutions, provincial governments and the general public.

The survey is available on the commission's Web site at www.mphec.ca .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

A new survey shows that a university degree is still worth the time and money.

The survey, conducted by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission, finds that graduates of the class of 1999 enjoy high employment rates, earn more than previous classes and are satisfied with their education, even though they had to borrow more money to get their degrees.

The Survey of 1999 Maritime University Graduates in 2001, released today (May 13th), shows the average debt for the class of 1999 was more than 20-thousand dollars.

But Mireille Duguay, chief executive officer of the commission, says the graduates also earned an average of more than 36-thousand dollars a year, about 20 per cent more than graduates from the class of 1996.

The Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission was established in 1974 to assist institutions and governments in enhancing the post-secondary learning environment.

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Contact:

Dawn Gordon
Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission 506-453-2844 E-mail:
kjd            May 13, 2003        10:04 A.M.