Well, at least we’re not No. 1 any more.
Nova Scotia now ranks No. 2 among provinces in average tuition costs, with an average fee of $5,696, according to numbers released by Statistics Canada yesterday. Ontario bumped the province out of the top spot, with an average cost of $5,951.
This is the second consecutive year Nova Scotia has seen a decrease in tuition, and is the only province to see a decline in the cost of higher education.
But while tuition fees are declining – by 3.1 per cent for 2009-10 - Nova Scotia is still above the national average of $4,917.
"We're the only province in Canada where tuition has actually gone down by 3.1 per cent. So we're very pleased that the trend is supporting the students and helping to keep them in this province," Education Minister Marilyn More told reporters yesterday.
She added the province is hoping to lower tuition fees or keep them frozen until they reach the national average.
But Mark Coffin, executive director of the Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations, said while he’s glad to see the cost of tuition decreasing, he thinks the province can be doing more.
“When you look at the investment the government is putting into education in Nova Scotia, it’s far below that of any other province when you look at the proportions,” Coffin said. “We really need more to see a bigger investment from government, both provincial and federal.”
Coffin added while universities in Nova Scotia are seeing an increase in enrolment, he is hesitant to attribute the increase to lower tuition costs.
“We’re coming out of a recession, and in every recession in history there’s always been an increase in enrolment in short-term programs,” he said. “That’s what we’re seeing.”