Students are headed back to school this fall feeling the same as when classes abruptly ended six months ago, stressed and frustrated. The pandemic has brought many changes to the lives of students including an abrupt move to online learning and a significant decrease in employment opportunities. The one element that did not change; however, is the province’s steady rise in tuition fees.
“Many students were angered and insulted as institutions went ahead with the allotted 3% increase. It has never been clearer that these increases are not linked to the quality of education,” said Joanna Clark, Chairperson of Canadian Federation of Students – Nova Scotia “Ever since this Liberal government’s 2016 Tuition Reset and the subsequent yearly 3% tuition hikes, Nova Scotia’s students have been subjected to steadily rising tuition fees, which have skyrocketed to the highest in the country. This year students are navigating a global pandemic that affects almost all aspects of our lives, and we are shocked that the government has allowed an increase in fees at this time.”
Most institutions have shifted to online methods of learning, while a few will have hybrid methods where students will have on campus learning and online learning experiences. With this shift students are asking what they are actually paying for, as there are a lot less on campus services being offered, yet their tuition has increased.
“The hike in tuition fees is equally insulting to students as they are forced to take on more debt despite not having the opportunity to work in the same capacity they have in other years,” said Clark, “Students, despite being eligible for the CESB, are in an even more precarious and uncertain financial situation than years prior. Despite money being set aside for students throughout the summer, obstacles were thrown into their paths whether it was international students being excluded from the CESB or the failed Student Service Grant Program.”
Students are struggling, this pandemic has highlighted the necessity of trying to find a solution to the steadily increasing tuition fees and the burdening debt students continue to take on. In a society where 70% of jobs require some form of post-secondary education, it is essential to have an affordable path to these careers.
The Canadian Federation of Students is the oldest and largest national student organization in Canada, representing over 500,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students across the country.