New Brunswick Government to Offer Free Tuition for Low-Income and Middle-Class Families [VIDEOS]
Premier Brian Gallant and Post-Secondary Education, Training, and Labour Minister Francine Landry have announced that tuition will be free for New Brunswick students from low-income and many middle-class families.
The new Tuition Access Bursary was established to provide upfront financial assistance to students from families with an annual income of $60,000 or less and who attend a publicly funded university or college in New Brunswick.
The federal government provides grants for students with low and middle income who want to obtain a post-secondary education. Through the bursary, the provincial government will pay the difference between the federal grant provided to an eligible student and the amount owing for that student’s tuition.
In recent years, enrollment in the province’s public institutions has dropped, while tuition and public funding has increased. In addition to helping students who need it most, Landry says the bursary will encourage students to study in their home province at the University of New Brunswick, the Université de Moncton, St. Thomas University, Mount Allison University, New Brunswick Community College, Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick or New Brunswick College of Craft and Design.
Landry says the new bursary will be available to students for the timeline established for their program. An undergraduate university student enrolled in a program with an established timeline of five years would be eligible for the bursary each of those five years.
The program will start at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year.
Under the Education and New Economy Fund, nearly $25 million will be invested in the bursary during the first year. The $25 million is comprised of $14.5 million for strategic initiatives like the Tuition Access Bursary, alongside additional monies raised by discontinuing the education and tuition amounts on the income tax return. This follows similar decisions by the federal and Ontario governments this year.
It is anticipated that 7,100 students will be eligible to immediately benefit from the bursary which represents about 23-percent of New Brunswick students in the province’s public post-secondary institutions. Among students who apply for student financial assistance, Landry says more than 50-percent will qualify for the bursary.