A lot of people have some very good questions about issues relating to the funding of post-secondary education, as well as about effective forms of protest. We’ll endeavour to answer some of those questions here. If you have any further questions, please contact us and we’ll put up the answers here!
I don’t pay tuition (because I’m on scholarship, my parents saved up for me, I came into some money, etc.). Why should this matter to me?
Although scholarships allow for many students who might not otherwise have been able to attend university, post-secondary institutions would not survive without public funding. Even though you might not have to pay for your education out of your own pocket, if funding decreases you will be paying for it in other ways. When funding is cut to universities, the schools will have to make up for those cuts, which could lead to a reduced quality of education, which will certainly affect you, regardless of how you pay for school.
I’m graduating this year – I’m not going to have to worry about this. Why should I come out?
You may not have to worry about paying tuition anymore, but what about your friends and neighbours, your younger brother? If you want them to have the opportunity to pursue a university education, you need to speak out now. If we don’t have the time to take a stand, what makes us think that it is going to be any easier for people to do something about it when tuition fees are even higher and students are even more stressed? We need to consider these questions in the long-term, because the political decisions that are made today are going to effect us in the future.
Asking for lower tuition is nice, but wouldn’t that make people lazy? I like knowing that I’m working to pay for school, because it makes me take it more seriously.
That’s a very common concern. However, in many countries where tuition fees are lower or even free, university gets more competitive, and your ability to continue your education depends more upon how dedicated you are to your studies and less about your ability to pay.
Can the province afford to fund post-secondary education? We’re running a huge deficit. It would be nice, but I don’t think that it’s feasible.
The province really can’t afford not to. Students with high levels of debt are the least likely to stay in the province to work and pay taxes. Personal income tax is the single highest contributing factor to New Brunswick provincial revenue, so if we’re eroding the tax base, we’re hurting the economy. Students with high levels of debt are also the most likely to put off buying houses, cars, etc. Also, we need graduates that feel they can take on lower-paying, but socially-necessary professions (like teaching, social work, etc.) without having to worry about dealing with massive monthly debt payments. Post-secondary education is an investment in the province.
Shouldn’t we focus on getting more money into the student loan system?
In regards to Student Loans and their availability, we agree that any academically qualified student should have access to a post-secondary education, but we believe that putting more and more onus on loans is simply turning an underfunding issue into a debt crisis. We already see this happening in the States, where student debt has taken over credit card debt as the number one source of personal debt. In other words, in an attempt to reduce the provincial debt by cutting funding to students, all we are doing is turning provincial debt into personal debt, and the effects of this are quite great on both students and the economy as a whole.
I’m planning on leaving the province after graduation anyway. Isn’t it selfish for me to rally for lower tuition fees if I’m just going to move away?
In regards to not staying in the province, really that could be said of any government funding for any province. No one would feel bad going to the doctor in NB, and then leaving to work out West, so why is PSE seen so differently? Also, universities are a great way to bring people from all across the country and the world to NB, and, in a province that is losing people, we need to attract the best and brightest to NB.