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N.B. government in talks with private colleges over Tuition Access Bursary inclusion

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WATCH ABOVE: New Brunswick’s private colleges have reason to assume they could be added to the government’s tuition access bursary, although talks are just beginning. Global’s Jeremy Keefe explains – Sep 13, 2016

Private college students in New Brunswick could benefit from the province’s Tuition Access Bursary (TAB) in the future, although perhaps not to the same degree low-income students enrolled in public institutions will.

New Brunswick Post-Secondary Education, Training & Labour Minister Donald Arsenault confirmed talks have begun with the New Brunswick Association of Private Colleges to figure out where their students fit into the TAB program.

READ MORE: Free tuition comes at a cost, NB Tuition Access Bursary critics warn

“These are tight financial times and any time you enhance a program, this one or any other one, there’s an extra financial cost,” said Arsenault. “My job is to work towards the next budget to secure more funding for TAB and by doing that, to find whats the best way to include more people under that umbrella.”

Including private colleges to some degree is a goal Arsenault says they’re working towards, although higher tuition costs for certain programs could keep TAB from being brought to those institutions in its original form.

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“I cannot guarantee you they’ll be part of the program, I can guarantee you they’ll be part of the conversations,” said Arsenault.

The New Brunswick Association of Private Colleges (NBAPC) says they welcome the discussions for the simple fact that they could potentially help their students pay for their education, but enrollment remains strong despite the implementation of the bursary.

“Numbers are up actually in most of the private colleges that we’ve spoken to,” explained Dale Ritchie, president of the NBAPC. “People who attend private colleges and universities go there for specific programs, often they cant be offered in public institutions.

Ritchie says regardless of whether they feel a pinch from TAB over the next few years, the NBAPC is committed to continuing talks with the government to ensure all students are treated equally regardless of which institution they choose to attend.

Both sides say they have plans to meet again in the near future to discuss the program further.

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