New Brunswick post-secondary funding announced, details kept quiet

Click to play video: 'Brian Gallant hints at additional funding for post-secondary education' Brian Gallant hints at additional funding for post-secondary education
WATCH ABOVE: While wrapping budget talks Premier Brian Gallant made reference to additional funding for post-secondary education. At this point, he won't say what that funding will amount to or when it'll come into effect. As Global's Jeremy Keefe reports that has some holding out hope that their calls will be answered, and others, not holding their breath – Feb 17, 2017

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.

READ MORE: Highlights from New Brunswick budget 2017: more spending, more debt

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.”

READ MORE: New Brunswick government announces free tuition for low income students

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.

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“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).”

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.

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

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.

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