The leader of the People’s Alliance party says ‘free tuition’ is a great headline-grabber, but a closer look at it reveals it’s not all the Premier would like us to believe.
Kris Austin listed several issues he would like to see the government address, and is offering to sit down with the Gallant government to work on the file in a non-partisan attempt to ensure all New Brunswick post secondary students are treated fairly. Those concerns include:
- the current family income cap does not take into consideration major differences in cost of living across various regions of the province, when basing the cap on family size
- limiting institutions that qualify. Students going to a private career college for a particular career not offered at publicly funded institutions do not qualify; this could eventually force some private schools out of business, further eroding our economy.
- Eliminating the tax credit for education, books, and tuition for those who have to pay for their own schooling. This places an unfair burden upon the shoulders of students whose parents are above the family income threshold. It unfairly penalizes those who, though they would qualify for tuition assistance due to income levels, can only get training for their chosen career by attending private post-secondary education institutions. This helps roughly 7,100 vs the 42,000 – based on 2013 stats, who will be losing their tax credit help which includes low income people who will not qualify based on career, thus the institution they choose.
- No retention plan to encourage graduates to stay and work here, despite New Brunswick taxpayers paying for their education. This will result in loss of investment.
Labeling the post secondary program as “free”, when in reality it limits where a qualifying person can study, further penalizes those who don’t qualify for bursaries by taking their modest tax relief away, and offers no incentive for graduates to stay in NB is a major concern, said Austin.
“I would prefer a system that broadens the relief for all New Brunswick students; one that works in step with protecting our investment as taxpayers in that system,”says Austin. “We must work toward equality, fairness and balance for all New Brunswickers. These are values that we hold dear as a Party, and we are willing to offer solutions to the current government on such an important file.”