N.B. universities are least affordable

Fellow blogger, the Sorry Centrist, brought this story to my attention a few days ago. He must also have a mole over at the T&T as it has shown up this morning.

New Brunswick is at the bottom of the list when it comes to the affordability of university degrees in North America, according to a new study.The report, published by the Educational Policy Institute, suggests New Brunswick ranks 57th out of the 50 states and 10 provinces.

The report takes into account tuition fees, loans and scholarships, tax exemptions and the median household incomes in each area.

Jody Carr, minister of post-secondary education and training, said he’s not happy that New Brunswick is at the bottom of the list.

However, he said the report is relying on information from several years ago and the province has since introduced several measures to help make university more affordable.

“We have to take the report seriously, they provided some insight,” he said.I don’t think this is the end-all or be-all.” Tuition fees in the province are about $6,000, but the cost of living for a student can reach about $11,000.

A couple of observations about this report. First, I have not seen a study such as this that adjusted costs based on ability to pay – coined ATP.

Secondy, Jody Carr’s response is exactly the point of a previous blog that I posted. If Jody Carr was in opposition, this would shameful but because he is in government it is not the ‘end-all or be-all’. Carr would have much more credibility if he said that this is a fact and that government has decided to invest more money in health care than post secondary education. He might lose votes but he would gain credibility. Ultimately, the government has a pot of money to spend – around $6 billion this year. They have limited wiggle room – about $5 to $5.5 billion of that would be very hard to change without some serious ramifications. The rest they can play with and this year they decided to avoid the hammer of massive NB Power increases by removing the HST. Giving middle and upper class NBers a tax break may not be the best policy but I guess they figure it will garner votes.

They sprinkled around other goodies from that ‘wiggle room’ – like another mini tax cut for small businesses – I just hope there are a few left to take advantage – there are 8% less today than in 2000.

Ultimately, I think we need to invest every spare dime in economic development. That’s the only investment that will generate more tax dollars to pay for the government services we want.

As for education, you’re talking to a guy who spent 11 years paying off his student loans. I like the idea of trying to reduce these costs and stimulate more post-secondary education. But when I look at the migration data for New Brunswick – it’s clear that the more educated a person is the more likely they are to leave NB (on average) so in some absurd way maybe we should limit post secondary education – as a sick twist on labour market retention.

Alternatively, we would try and have jobs here for those kids when they graduate.

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0 Responses to N.B. universities are least affordable

  1. Anonymous says:

    More to the point I’d ask Carr what SPECIFICALLY are the ‘changes’ the tories have made in the last few years. I certainly haven’t heard of any. Sure, there are some things in THIS budget, but you certainly can’t brag about the ‘new promises’ you’re making because you’ve discovered how bad you are doing.

    However, I would like to add that one of the measurements in the study was how much local levels of government contribute to the cost of post secondary education. In the states they have all kinds of local powers over taxation, etc., and many programs for municipal governments to aid students. In Canada this amount is zero, zilch, in fact most municipalities couldn’t even afford to do that even if they wanted to. In the states they at least realized that local investment makes sense because people are more likely to stay local after graduating, in Canada, well, just look at our economy, the LAST thing they want is people to stay where they got their education.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I do have a question for anybody out there ‘in the know’. If the tories increased aid by 34% to universities, as according to Jody Carr in yesterdays House Q&A, then how come there wasn’t a tuition decrease?

    This has always puzzled me. Take a university like St. Thomas. They are a liberal arts college. Now for ‘research’ I can understand why you need tuition increases, particularly in science. In business, arts, social science, even most of computer science, why the heck do you need massive increases? To pay for more pens? In something like sociology or even accounting you don’t even need a classroom anymore, just look at all the online courses.

    Universities are now offering tons of online courses,for the same tuition, yet with no professor necessary-or just part time ones. So what the heck is all this money going to anyway??

    You could literally educate the entire province without any of them setting foot anywhere NEAR a classroom. Notice how such things never even seem to be discussed.

  3. scott says:

    Sounds good. But this is more twisted:

    Forget about attracting multi-national companies to New Brunswick as it may stimulate real economic growth and security, and in turn, it may ultimately lead to people getting off the welfare and EI rolls.


    I maen honestly, we wouldn’t want to interupt a welfare or an EI cheque coming to a mailbox or bank account near you…that would be political suicide for north shore politicians.

    Down with multi-national companies and down with people who want to work for a living.

    This is New Brunswick!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    What does the above have to do with?