Fredericton, NB – Post-secondary students in New Brunswick are frustrated with government’s failure to reinvest funds from the New Brunswick Tuition Rebate (NBTR) back into student financial aid, six months after it was announced that the tax credit would be eliminated.
The NBTR, which provided a maximum of $20,000 to graduates who remained and worked in the province, was scrapped in the 2015-16 provincial budget.
At the time, the cut was estimated at $22.4 million.
“The New Brunswick Tuition Rebate was by no means the perfect program, and we understand the rationale for its elimination,” said Lindsay Handren, NBSA Executive Director. “However, to be standing here six months out with no reinvestment of those funds back into financial aid – or clear plan in place to do so – is extremely worrisome.”
“Post-secondary students in New Brunswick face an uphill battle in financing their education, and government inaction will only make it harder.”
New Brunswick students graduating with debt owe an average of $35,200, the highest across all ten provinces. That amount is expected to increase following recent decisions to eliminate the NBTR and to raise the debt cap on the Timely Completion Benefit.
High student debt levels have been linked to slow economic growth and outmigration.
“Once again, we are calling on government to invest in affordable and accessible education,” said Annie Sherry, NBSA Board Chair. “Post-secondary students in New Brunswick represent the future of this province, and reinvesting funds from the New Brunswick Tuition Rebate back into student financial aid represents an obvious step toward protecting that future.”
“We believe those funds would have the greatest impact in the form of up-front, need-based grants. We strongly urge government to invest strategically to ensure that students from all backgrounds are able to pursue a post-secondary degree.”