New Brunswick

New graduates group demands return of tuition tax rebate

The newly created New Brunswick Graduates Organization is demanding that the tuition tax rebate, which was taken away to create the Tuition Access Bursary, be reinstated.

Former students want their voices heard when it comes to the cost of education

Colin Hodd is part of the new NB Graduates Organization that is hoping to give recent graduates a voice. (CBC News)

The newly created New Brunswick Graduates Organization is demanding that the tuition tax rebate, which was taken away to create the Tuition Access Bursary,  be reinstated.

Group member Colin Hodd was let down by the government's decision to drop the tuition tax rebate as a way to fund a new free tuition program for students from families with less than $60,000 in income.

Some university graduates demand their tuition rebates. 8:41
"I was surprised first of all,"  said Hodd.

"I guess we were sort of anticipating that it would be replaced or that there would be something else that would come along that would compensate for the loss, especially since so many people were counting on it over the 10 year period." 

The aim ultimately, like I said, is to create an organization that can centralize and create that voice for grads in New Brunswick.- Colin Hodd

New Brunswick graduates have on average a higher debt than anyone, anywhere else in the country. Hodd says that the rebate was one of the things that helped offset that, but now it's gone.  

"I guess either you're out in the cold or you're waiting for whatever that next idea is, if it is in fact coming," said Hodd.
 
"Part of the thing with making student loan payments is, of course, if you don't know if you're going to be employed six months from now you have to make that decision. Do I set this money aside so I can pay rent and eat? Do I set this money aside so I can pay my loan?"

Getting the tuition rebate back may be the group's first goal, but it's not their only goal. The organization is looking to create a voice for all graduates in the province, so they can tackle more than just the tuition rebate.

Premier Brian Gallant announces free tuition for low-income students. (CBC)
"One of the things with New Brunswick is it's difficult to get data on numbers like that, on numbers of grads in the province. Part of what we're trying to do is consolidate those numbers and get an idea of what those numbers are actually like," said Hodd. 

The group is small now, with just eight people, but Hodd believes it will grow.

"The aim ultimately, like I said, is to create an organization that can centralize and create that voice for grads in New Brunswick," said Hodd.

"If it were just me, if I was the only one struggling with this, I would be able to chalk it up to my own faults and failings. But it isn't just me."

With files from Information Morning Fredericton

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