New Brunswick

Tuition bursary brings relief to some on New Brunswick campuses

The first day of university this year was a happy one for some students, as they started the year with a financial boost from the government.

The new bursary covers tuition costs for low and middle income post secondary students.

Abby Clarke is in her second year of her Bachelor of Science at UNBSJ. She received the tuition bursary this year. (Abby Clarke)

The first day of university this year was a happy one for some students, as they started the year with a financial boost from the government.

In April, the provincial government unveiled the Tuition Access Bursary, a tuition top-up plan for low and middle income students. 

The bursary is available to residents of New Brunswick who are attending public post secondary institutions in the province. They must also have a gross family income of less than $60,000.

When the program was first announced, the government estimated it would benefit roughly 7,100 students, or 23 per cent of the total.

They do not  have the final numbers yet as to how many people have been awarded the bursaries, but Post-Secondary Education, Training, and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault said roughly 35 per cent of the student aid applications they've received have qualified for the bursary.

'It's more comfortable'

Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault says that roughly 35 per cent of student aid applicants will qualify for the bursary. (CBC)
Abby Clarke is attending the University of New Brunswick Saint John and received notice of her tuition bursary two days ago.

"It affected my worry about getting into debt," she said.

"I did plan on continuing my studies, it was more so about the amount of anxiety I had towards the amount of debt I was going to get into."

Now that her bursary application has been accepted, and the entire cost of her tuition is covered, she is able to relax.

"I feel a lot better," she said.

"I mean it's nice to have some help in regards to going to school, especially where it was kind of more what kind of loan I could get beforehand. Now, it's more comfortable."

Casey Taylor said the bursary has alleviated her worries as well, adding that it was surprisingly simple to apply for, since it's part of the main student aid application.

"I filled out the papers and I got it, not a problem," she said. "Someone was complaining about how much it costs in [our] taxes but I think it's a good thing."

It's what people need

Arseneault admits the bursary isn't perfect so far, but he's happy at how quickly the government was able to take action and enact it.

"If we're going to grow our economy, we have to have a skilled and qualified workforce," he said.

"In order to do that, we need to look at our population and make sure they have access to post-secondary education at an affordable rate."

He said the student aid office has processed roughly half of incoming applications, so some people are still looking forward to getting their money in the mail.