Students seek public support for NBSA’s “Don't Cut Our Future” Campaign
Fredericton, NB—The New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA) will be demonstrating our commitment to accessible education on September 26, 2019, at 4:30 pm by engaging our members in a rally on their respective campuses. Students from Mount Allison University and The University of New Brunswick Saint John will be assembling on their campus quads while the University of New Brunswick Student Union and St. Thomas University Students Union will be leading their members to the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly. Together, they are sending a united message to the Government of New Brunswick—no more cuts to post-secondary education.
As an organization that represents over 12,000 students, the NBSA has started the #DontCutOurFuture campaign which addresses the changes made to student financial aid. These changes were made without any consultations with students or their representatives. The changes included the introduction of the Renewed Tuition Bursary, the removal of the Timely Completion Benefit, the removal of the Free Tuition Program and the Tuition Relief for the Middle Class along with the introduction of the Tax Credit.
The campaign aims to address the fact that changes made had severe impact on students’ access to affordable post secondary education within the province.
“We want the government of New Brunswick to understand that changes that affect our future, should not be made without student input,” said Emelyana Titarenko, chair of the NBSA board of directors, “in fact, we believe that the government should make post-secondary education a priority through developing a comprehensive vision for the future of post-secondary education, as the sector plays a critical role for the province's future”.
In the 2017/18 academic year, 6,319 low-income students across the province were able to attend a post-secondary institution through upfront, non-repayable needs based grants. Additionally, up until the recent cuts, students were able to benefit from the Timely Completion Benefit which acted as a debt relief program. In 2014, Statistics Canada reported that New Brunswick’s post secondary graduates have the highest average student debt in Canada at $35,200 compared to the national average of $22,300. This campaign aims to encourage the Government of New Brunswick to develop a collaborative strategic vision for the province's post-secondary education sector which includes investments into upfront, non-repayable needs based grants and an accessible debt relief program.
“We were disappointed to see the cuts made to financial aid in the spring of 2019 which left our most vulnerable members without strong financial support from the government, many of whom were unable to continue their studies this fall,” said Husoni Raymond, vice chair of the NBSA board of directors, “the goal of our campaign is to bring awareness to the changes and send a clear and collaborative message that we will not tolerate any more cuts to our future”.
The NBSA believes that the changes made are not only having a negative impact on our students and their future but they are also having a negative impact on our province as it struggles with outmigration and slow economic growth. On September 26th, we are seeking the support of the public and stakeholders to show our elected representatives that these cuts will destroy our collective future.