Government Changes Tune On Cuts To Post-Secondary

Fredericton, NB – Post-secondary students in New Brunswick are disappointed to see government changing its tune on potential cuts to post-secondary education, following a media release on savings being considered in the upcoming provincial budget.

The release identified reducing or freezing university operating grants as a way to save between $15 million and $45 million per year.

Previous government communication, including the Choices to Move New Brunswick Forward document released as part of its ongoing Strategic Program Review, identified the development of a new, performance-based funding model for universities as the method being considered to save those funds.

“All year long, students in this province have felt as though government has been pushing their interests aside,“ said Lindsay Handren, NBSA Executive Director. “This new revelation only serves to reinforce that sentiment.”

“Simply reducing or continuing to freeze university operating grants would not be a strategic decision, or a progressive one.“

New Brunswick already ranks eighth out of the ten Canadian provinces in terms of public funding to universities. The 2015-16 provincial budget put a freeze on that funding.

Increasingly insufficient levels of public funding, coupled with decreasing enrolment, has left universities struggling to continue to deliver a high quality education and support services to students. Various programs and staff positions, including counselors, have been cut over the last year as a result.

“Changes do need to be made to the post-secondary education system, and we believe government was correct in its consideration of a new funding formula,” said Katie Davey, NBSA Vice-Chair. “Unfortunately, it now seems to have changed directions entirely in order to take the easy way out.”

“There is tremendous value to be found in New Brunswick’s universities. We strongly urge government to consider that value, and to think twice about making a decision that could bring this system to its knees.”

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Post-Secondary Students Outline Priorities for 2015-16

Fredericton, NB – Post-secondary students in New Brunswick are looking forward to presenting their ideas for a better post-secondary education system to government, university administrators, and faculty following the release of ‘Post-Secondary Education – Strategic Investments for a Better New Brunswick’.

Student leaders from four university campuses across the province will hold meetings in Fredericton next week as part of the New Brunswick Student Alliance’s annual Advocacy Week.

The recently released document will inform those meetings.

“The recommendations outlined in this document represent what New Brunswick’s post-secondary students believe to be strategic investments for their government,“ said Lindsay Handren, NBSA Executive Director.

“They offer a means of getting the province’s youth, its institutions, and ultimately its labour force back on track.”

The document touches on a number of topics including financial aid, international student support, experiential learning, and the public funding of New Brunswick’s post-secondary institutions. It offers eight recommendations to government.

Included among those recommendations are the reallocation of funds from the scrapped Tuition Rebate into needs-based grants and a reversal of the controversial decision to increase the debt-cap on the Timely Completion Benefit.

“Making strategic investments in the post-secondary education system now will be key to New Brunswick’s success in the long-term,” said Annie Sherry, NBSA Board Chair. “With over 60% of job openings in the next decade expected to require a post-secondary education, ensuring that students have access to a high-quality education and the right social supports has never been more important.”

“We all want a strong and productive provincial economy. To get there, there is no investment more strategic than an investment in our youth.”

Read our new advocacy document in full here.

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