The New Brunswick NDP is announcing our platform on Post Secondary Education in New Brunswick.
As I travel across the province, the concern raised most often is that our youth are leaving.  Some of us have our own troubles, yes, but we worry most about our kids and our grand-kids having to leave for work and the hole that is left behind in our family, our community, our economy and our hearts.
For youth to stay here, we must make  sure that youth see a bright future in this province. This means we must put a stop to precarious work where youth and too many others have to work two or three jobs to put a roof over their heads and food on the table.  Why work for $11 an hour here, when they can move elsewhere and find full time employment?  We must cultivate stable employment right here in New Brunswick. That is why we are pushing for a fifteen dollar minimum wage.
And  we must insure our youth are well educated and  well connected to the rest of the world.   We must build a province where youth feel welcome and are given the conditions to thrive.
Instead, today higher education  is becoming more and more difficult for students in obtain New Brunswick.  Under Liberal and Conservative governments, tuition fees in universities have risen by 20% since 2010 to the point where New Brunswick students now have the highest average debt load in the Country and they pay the highest interest rates on that debt.  While the Gallant government may tout  education spending with the introduction of Tuition Access Bursary,  the province is actually spending $20 million dollars less today on student financial assistance than it was before 2010.
Our universities are no longer competitive with  schools across Canada.
If we are going to invest in our future and keep our youth here, we must do more. It is time to start taking bold steps towards universality in Post-Secondary Education. It’s time to start making post secondary education a public  right.
The NDP will make access to higher education more affordable for all New Brunswick students. These measures will be available to all students across Canada who choose to study in New Brunswick universities or community colleges.   Youth are welcome here!
We know from experience that many students who come to New Brunswick from across Canada and the world  often decide to stay in our province,  find employment , create businesses and  raise families.
Our plan will prevent the Gallant government planned 2019 tuition ‘reset’ that has  cause tuition fees to skyrocket at the University of New Brunswick.
In our first year in government the New Brunswick NDP will implement the following measures:

  • Eliminate tuition fees at all NBCC/CCNB  community colleges;
  • Reduce undergraduate tuition for all New Brunswick publicly funded universities by 25%;
  • Eliminate interest charges on all existing and future student loans for New Brunswick residents;
  • Increase up-front financial assistance for Graduate Students by expanding eligibility under the Tuition-Access Bursary (TAB) and allow graduate students to access tuition relief for the middle class under the Tuition Relief for Middle Classs program (TRMC);
  • Introduce a Graduate Student Scholarship Program;
  • Invest in dedicated mental health services on campus;
  • Ensure on campus  harassment and  sexual assault prevention policies exist in all colleges and universities with capacity for  investigation, education and enforcement;
  • Ensure fair funding for St Thomas University.

It is time for New Brunswickers to say to our youth, we want you here !
 
Jennifer McKenzie,
Leader, NB-NDP