Tuition fees in Nova Scotia are the second highest in Canada, at an average of $7,218 per year, and the fastest rising in Canada, at 5.6% a year. This has resulted in graduates in our province graduating with the highest debt load in Canada, at $39,600 compared to a national average of $28,000. High levels of student debt are an impediment to Nova Scotia’s economic growth. Relying on debt to finance education means that the full impact of high tuition fees is delayed until after graduation, as indebted graduates have less available funds with which to begin their lives. At a time when the province needs to encourage our graduates to buy a home, start a family, and pursue entrepreneurship, high student debt discourages all of these things. Student debt also impacts career choices, even among professional faculties such as medicine and law. The high upfront cost to obtain a post-secondary education is a barrier that can prevent those in need of financial assistance from being able to fully participate in the economy for upwards of 10 years post-graduation. All of these factors depress the economic contribution by graduates and lead to a stagnant economy.
Students are calling on Nova Scotians to vote for candidates who support:
- Reducing tuition fees
- Increasing public funding
- Replacing student loans with upfront and needs based grants