New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant made mention of increased funding for post-secondary students on Friday, although he remained tight-lipped on how those dollars would be spent and who would benefit.
While closing debate on the recently tabled budget Gallant announced a new program was in the works which would help post-secondary students in the province however when questioned later, he said they weren’t ready to discuss any further details.
“Exactly where it will go and what it will look like remains to be seen,” Gallant said. “We’re in discussions at the moment to ensure that it’s going to help as many people as possible but also help with our priorities of advancing post-secondary education here in New Brunswick.”
The New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA) was surprised by Gallant’s comments, but is hopeful their calls will be heeded when the announcement is made.
“If the premier is certainly interested in listening to students and getting things done for students the NBSA has been very vocal about what he can invest in,” said NBSA executive director Robert Burroughs. “That would be a sliding scale for TAB (Tuition Access Bursary).”
“A sliding scale is very necessary for TAB to achieve its goal.”
Currently TAB provides free tuition to students of families who earn less than $60,000 per year.
The hard cut-off has been a point of contention for the province’s official opposition along with the exclusion of private colleges.
Both are aspects of the program they’d like to see revamped.
“They were excluded from this program and again it just doesn’t make sense,” said Opposition Finance Critic Bruce Fitch. “They talk about private enterprises and businesses yet they discriminate against organizations like that.”
Gallant said he expects to finalize the details and announce the new program in the near future in order to make it available ahead of the coming school year.