Three-year Agreement Benefits University Students

Department of Education (to March 26, 2013)

December 7, 2004 11:33 AM

Nova Scotia and its universities signed an agreement today, Dec.
7, to cap most tuition fee increases for three years in exchange
for guaranteed provincial funding.

By the last year of the three-year agreement, universities will
be receiving $34.6 million per year more from government compared
to 2004-05.

On average, this new funding will avert about $1,300 in tuition
fee increases in the final year of the agreement.

"This is a substantial investment by the people of Nova Scotia in
their students and universities," said Education Minister Jamie
Muir. "Higher education will continue to be an excellent value
for students and our universities will continue to offer an
education that is recognized across the country for its high
quality.

"This comes on top of new initiatives in student financial
assistance. Education, clearly, is a priority of this
government."

Colin Dodds, chair of the Council of Nova Scotia University
Presidents and president of Saint Mary's University, said the
memorandum of understanding is a significant re-investment by the
Nova Scotia government in Nova Scotia's universities and its
students.

"It recognizes that Nova Scotia's universities are a strategic
asset, critically important to the province's future prosperity
and quality of life," Dr. Dodds said.

"The memorandum helps ensure that Nova Scotia's universities
continue to deliver high quality, nationally competitive programs
and an overall experience attractive and accessible to students
here at home, from across Canada and from around the world."

Under the memorandum of understanding, the universities will have
available funding of $224 million in 2005-06 (an increase of
$12.3 million or 5.8 per cent over the previous year), $235.7
million in 2006-07 (an increase of $11.7 million or 5.2 per cent
over the previous year), and $246.3 million in 2007-08 (an
increase of $10.6 million or 4.5 per cent the previous year).

This is an increase of $71 million from a low of $175 million in
1997-98. It is the largest increase in provincial operating
grants to universities in history.

Tuition fees will be limited to increases of no more than 3.9 per
cent annually for most programs during the agreement. The
agreement also limits increases to other fees such as those for
labs and residences.

Tuition fees have increased by about seven per cent in each of
the past three years.

Work on the agreement began in the fall of 2003.

Student needs were considered throughout the negotiations. Mr.
Muir and department staff sought the views of student leaders at
a meeting in October, and provided them background on the
negotiations.

Mr. Muir and Dr. Dodds gave student leaders a private briefing on
the agreement Tuesday morning.

The Department of Education and the universities have also agreed
to meet twice yearly to discuss the progress of the agreement and
to pursue new initiatives.

These include making it easier for students to transfer credits
among universities and community colleges, making higher
education more efficient, and making it more accessible to under-
represented groups.

Five areas of higher education are not covered by the tuition
increase limits: medicine (MD), dentistry (DDS), law (LLB),
programs for which students pay the full cost of their education,
and foreign student differential fees.

The agreement recognizes that universities are a $1-billion
industry vital the province's economy, providing 7,500 direct
high quality, well-paying jobs, and 17,500 indirect jobs.

Higher education represents 60 per cent of the research and
development in the province.

Work on the second memorandum of understanding will begin in
2007-08.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     The province and its universities have signed a deal that

will cap most tuition fee increases for three years.

     It also gives the universities a 34 point-6-million dollar

boost in funding by 2007.

     The Department of Education estimates that on average this

new funding will spare students about 13-hundred dollars each in

tuition fee increases.

     Education Minister Jamie Muir says Nova Scotia universities

have an excellent reputation across the country. He says this new

investment by the province will enable them to continue offering

top-quality education.

-30-

Contact: Bill Turpin
         Department of Education
         902-424-3150
         E-mail: turpinsw@gov.ns.ca

jal         December 7, 2004         11:32 A.M.