It takes 600 hours to earn tuition in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia university students have to work nearly twice as long to pay for tuition as they did 30 years ago.

In 1984, students only had to work a minimum wage job for 350 hours

Joanne Freill works part-time to cover the university bills. (CBC)

Nova Scotia university students have to work nearly twice as long to pay for tuition as they did 30 years ago.

A comparison of tuition versus minimum wage shows university education is less affordable in the province than most other Canadian provinces.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives said that in 1984, Nova Scotia students could cover an average year's tuition by working around 350 hours.

That’s risen to 600 hours.

Joanne Freill works at a copying centre to help pay for her chemistry degree at Dalhousie University.

“I can't cover the cost with just this job. Parents come in, and student loans,” she said.

Nova Scotia’s minimum wage is $10.30 an hour. Freill’s tuition and fees are about $9,600 a year, meaning she’d have to work 932 hours to cover it, not including taxes and deductions.

“I try not to think about it,” she said.

Third-highest in Canada

Francis Fong is an economist with TD Bank. He said fear of debt may discourage Canadian youth from pursuing higher education.

“The worst thing that we can have is to have young people today not pursue post-secondary education because it's too expensive and the debt burden is too significant, for example. That's the opposite of where we want to end up,” he said.

The centre found Nova Scotia has the third-highest tuition in Canada. Only Ontario and Saskatchewan are higher.

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