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Universite de Moncton students protest looming tuition hikes

Students protest tuition hikes at the Universite de Moncton. Laura Brown/ Global News

MONCTON, NB — Students, signs and anger filled a hallway on the second floor of a Universite de Moncton building, after the university’s Board of Governors voted to raise tuition fees.

Canadian students will now pay $150 more, while international students will pay $1,000 more. Currently, Canadian students’ tuition is $5,292, while International students pay $8,972 at the university.

It’s enough of an increase that about 200 students packed the hallway just outside of where the board was meeting Saturday afternoon.

“We are from Northern New Brunswick and we need to pay to come over here, so $150 for us, it’s a lot. That means it’s less for us to have for food, for gas for everything,” said Canadian student Karine Bugold.

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“$150 is $150 I don’t have,” said Brunia Doiron, who’s also a Canadian student.

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“We are coming from developing countries, so $1000 dollars is like five or more months work for a normal worker in our country,” said Diane Gmonlomfin of Benin, West Africa.

“One thousand dollars is too much. We are working like $10-12 an hour so we basically have to pay about two months work just to pay our fees – our parents cannot afford that,” said Wissam Bensaid of Morocco.

The tuition hike comes after the province’s suggestion to cap increases at $150. But international students aren’t protected under tuition caps, which means those students will be paying about $10,000 next year for tuition alone.

“That’s a lot of money for someone who has to come here, pay $10,000 only for their studies. We pay a higher rate for the insurance and it comes to $20,000 a year to study in Moncton,” said Universite de Moncton’s International Students’ Association president, Ibtissam Nkaili, who hails from Morocco.

The university says the bottom line is rising education costs – something they need more money to deal with. And the chances they’ll see that money coming from the province is slim.

But students feel they’re not the ones to pick on.

St. Thomas University in Fredericton is going through the same process, but they may not keep to the government’s suggested $150 cap. They say they’re trying to balance the books and think about students’ wallets.

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