Province Introduces Tuition Cap

Labour and Advanced Education

February 1, 2011 1:16 PM

The province announced a university funding plan today, Feb. 1, that will protect Nova Scotia students by ensuring tuition remains at, or below, the national average and help universities remain competitive and sustainable for years to come.

The plan will cap tuition increases annually at 3 per cent. For Nova Scotia undergraduate students that means an average increase of about $154 per year. For out-of-province undergraduate students, the average increase is about $185 per year.

"For years, we have fought to get tuition increases under control because Nova Scotia had the highest tuition in Canada. I remain committed to making sure a university education in this province remains affordable well into the future," said Marilyn More, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. "By establishing a tuition cap, the province can ensure that tuition in Nova Scotia will not increase as quickly as it is in most other provinces."

In order to ensure that the province is able to keep tuition rates for Nova Scotia students at or below the national average, the province will continue to fund the Student Bursary Program. The program costs $29 million per year.

Ms. More also announced that universities in Nova Scotia will see a reduction of 4 per cent in their grant funding from the province for the 2011-12 academic year. From 2004 until 2010, funding for universities has increased from $212 million to $349 million or 65 per cent. In April, the province will begin working on a new funding arrangement for universities to cover 2012-2015. Both universities and students will be involved in the discussions.

"Universities in Nova Scotia are being asked to manage within the same financial restraints that all provincial departments and agencies face," said Ms. More. "I believe that Nova Scotia's universities provide the highest quality education and lifelong advantage for students and I am confident in their ability to come up with realistic and innovative solutions to ensure the future viability of our world-class university system."

The minister also committed to improving the province's student assistance program. In a report released in the fall on the university system in the province, Dr. Tim O'Neil said Nova Scotia has one of the weakest student assistance programs in the country.

The province launched a consultation with students and stakeholders to share information and gather ideas on how to improve student assistance for post-secondary students.

"I am carefully considering the ideas the students and stakeholders presented," said Ms. More.

"It is clear to me that they want us to focus our efforts on capping the amount of student debt, improving the loan-to-grant ratio so students have to pay back less money, and provide financial assistance to those students who need it most."

The minister will meet student leaders this month to discuss the student assistance program.

"Universities are an integral part of the province and their success is critical to the economic and social well-being of Nova Scotia. I look forward to working with the universities and the students in the weeks and months ahead to ensure as many students as possible can access the first-class programs that Nova Scotia's universities offer."


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     The province announced a university funding plan today

(February 1st) that will protect Nova Scotia students by ensuring

tuition remains at, or below, the national average and help

universities remain competitive and sustainable for years to

come.

     The plan will cap tuition increases annually at three per

cent or an average increase of 154-dollars for Nova Scotia

students and 185-dollars for out-of-province students.

     Labour and Advanced Education Minister Marilyn More says by

establishing a tuition cap, the province can ensure that tuition

in Nova Scotia will not increase as quickly as it is in most

other provinces.

     Universities will see a reduction of four per cent in grant

funding from the province for 2011-2012 with work beginning in

April on a new three year funding arrangement.

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Media Contact: Kevin Finch
              Labour and Advanced Education
              902-424-0847
              Cell: 902-471-5139
              E-mail: finchkh@gov.ns.ca