Nova Scotia

Kings and Dalhousie students protest high tuition fees

Student activists at Dalhousie University and the University of Kings College in Halifax protested Wednesday against rising tuition fees by handing out free instant noodles to students.

Free instant noodles given out to highlight financial hardships faced by students

Charlotte Kiddell with the Canadian Federation of Students thinks university and college tuition should be made free. (CBC)

Student activists at Dalhousie University and the University of Kings College in Halifax protested Wednesday against rising tuition fees by handing out free instant noodles to students.

"Tuition fees are so high that they [students] can't afford basic necessities like groceries," said Charlotte Kiddell, the Nova Scotia chair of the Canadian Federation of Students.

The federation is calling for free tuition and has organized a nationwide student walkout on Nov. 2 to urge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to live up to his pre-election talk about supporting post-secondary students.

In April, Dalhousie's board of governors approved a general tuition hike of three per cent, along with additional increases for some programs such as engineering.

According to the university's online calculator, full-time Dal undergraduate students will pay anywhere from $5,430 to $10,121 this year in tuition and incidental fees, depending on the program of study.

Packages of instant noodles were handed out at the protest. (Preston Mulligan/CBC)

Kings student Ethan Speigel said he supports the federations's call for free post-secondary education.

"One of the laws recently passed in Ontario is that families of low income under $50,000 per year get free tuition. And I think that's an incredible initiative that Nova Scotia should follow," he said.

A meeting with the PM

In January, Kiddell spoke to Trudeau as part of a special CBC program. She said their conversation focused mainly on the cost of a university or college education.

"He had a lot of inspiring things to say, but there's been a really disappointing lack of action and I want to see that change," said Kiddell.

She said the University of Kings College is a good example of what happens when tuition fees increase. She said student enrolment is down and most of the students registered come from families in the two highest income brackets.

Kiddell is specific about what would constitute fair tuition fees.

"I would say no tuition is reasonable tuition," she said.

About the Author

Preston Mulligan has been a reporter in the Maritimes for more than 20 years. Along with his reporting gig, he also hosts CBC Radio's Sunday phone-in show, Maritime Connection.

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