Students at NSCAD university are currently fighting the threat of a tuition increase in the middle of a global pandemic. Tuition at NSCAD University is now the highest of any Arts University in the country where students are paying on average $2000 more a year.
“NSCAD students over the past five years have experienced an increase of almost 50%. Now more than ever a tuition increase is detrimental to students” said Raquel Silva, Vice President Academic and the Student Union of NSCAD University (SUNSCAD) “Students and their families are finding it extremely difficult to find employment as well as keep work during COVID-19. Like many other Canadians, students have found themselves relying on the CERB or CESB to be able to survive this pandemic.”
Despite this national financial help, many students are now facing the fear of not being able to afford their education this year. Should NSCAD’s Board of Governors approve another tuition hike, many students will be forced to drop out of school.
“As students, we understand that it is not a safe decision to have classes in person at this time. We are not asking for the University to open up prematurely as this would pose a significant risk to our health and wellbeing.” Said Silva, “however, we cannot justify having tuition raised once again without access to studios or equipment. Hands on experience cannot be replaced by online classes.”
On June 5, 2020, NSCAD University put out a public statement announcing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. In this statement, NSCAD declared its commitment to building a new Anti Racist Action plan, one that would increase safety/accountability and increase opportunities for all students. However, should the Board of Governors continue to raise tuition as they have annually, we fear that underprivileged communities will be priced out of an education.
“The economic and health impacts of COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting Black, Indigenous, and POC students.” Said Silva. “To turn a blind eye to this reality is to be complicit. The NSCAD Board of Governors have the power to help alleviate this injustice. The time to act is now.”
Students are demanding an immediate tuition freeze, as well as a plan of action to reduce tuition in the upcoming future. They are also calling on the Board of Governors to stand by NSCAD University’s Statement to develop an Anti Racist Action plan by committing to keep higher education accessible for all students, regardless of race, gender, or economic status.
Students are also asking that alumni, community members, and the public stand in solidarity with the students of NSCAD University and request the Board of Governors to freeze tuition for the 2020-2021 academic school year. Letters of solidarity can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please sign our petition at http://chng.it/DzPSgrjHTR