Students applauded a new provincial funding agreement that promises to cut tuition for Nova Scotia students, but they condemned the province for discriminating against students from other parts of Canada.
The agreement will freeze tuition — currently the highest on average in Canada — for all students over the next three years. A bursary, offered only to Nova Scotia students, will lower tuition over the next three years to the national average, the province says. Other Canadian students will have to wait until 2010 for a much smaller reduction.
Kaley Kennedy, Nova Scotia representative of the Canadian Federation of Students, says the agreement breaks Premier Rodney MacDonald’s 2006 throne speech promise to reduce the province’s tuition levels to the Canadian average by 2010-11.
“He didn’t say anything about it only being only for Nova Scotia students studying in Nova Scotia,” Kennedy said. “The overall provincial average will not go to the national average and that was the promise.”
Paris Meilleur, executive director of the Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations, says the tuition agreement is a big step, but differential fees and blaming the federal government are shortsighted.
NDP education critic Leonard Preyra said the announcement sends a message to out-of-province students that the Nova Scotia government doesn’t value their contribution to the provincial economy.
“There’s a danger that students from other parts of Canada will feel like second-class citizens,” Preyra said.
The agreement means out-of-province Canadian students will pay $761 more in tuition next year at Nova Scotia universities. The difference will grow to $1,022 over the two following years.

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