UNB Graduate Student Association unimpressed by provincial budget

Written by Nathan Gullison on February 7, 2018

UNB Graduate Student Association and others organized a rally to call for free education in November 2016. Photo by Tracy Glynn.

The University of New Brunswick’s Graduate Student Association (GSA) says that the province’s 2018 budget lacks vision and fails to prioritize post-secondary education.

Brittany Dixon, president of the GSA, says, “We have seen the steepest decline in enrolment in Canada, and difficulty keeping youth in this province after they graduate. Graduate students provide a significant source of research and innovation in this province, and the budget does not seem to prioritize that contribution. We call on the government to abandon their proposed tuition fee increases and work to build a universally accessible post-secondary education system that works for all students.”

Though the grad association cited the $9 million for new spending that was previously promised as positive, as well as the Free Tuition and Tuition Relief for the Middle-Class programs, they point out that the creation of these last two programs were joined with cuts from the pre-existing Tuition rebate program, and the New Brunswick Tuition and Text Book Tax Credit. This resulted in a net cut of $20 million from post-secondary education assistance funding.

“We are meeting with legislators to discuss our recommendations for the future of education in this province,” says Dixon, “We have a series of recommendations in our fully-costed document, including increased supports for mental health, graduate student research, and international students, and a path towards a system of post-secondary education which is truly free. We hope that future budgets will reflect the recommendations we’re presenting this week.”

The Graduate Student Association of the University of New Brunswick represents over 1,500 graduate students studying at the University of New Brunswick.

Nathan Gullison is a Native Studies student at St. Thomas University. 

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