Nova Scotia

N.S. students worried about coming tuition hikes

Some Nova Scotian students could pay $1,000 more in tuition next year, a student union said Thursday.

Some students could pay $1,400 more in 2016

John Hutton, the academic vice-president at the student union, wants Dal to use reserve funds. (CBC)

Some Nova Scotian students could pay $1,000 more in tuition next year, a student union said Thursday.

The Dalhousie Student Union said students at the Truro agricultural campus, plus students studying engineering and pharmacy, could see higher fees.

The increases are expected because Nova Scotia lifted a three per cent cap in tuition increases in April.

"These resets will substantially increase tuition fees beyond the three per cent we have seen in the past," said John Hutton, the academic vice-president at the student union.

"We are concerned about this. It could be as much as $1,400 dollars in the agriculture program." 

Agriculture students at the Truro campus pay less than the average undergrad on the Halifax campus. Engineering students at the university pay less than at some Canadian universities. Those discrepancies prompted the government to allow a one-time adjustment to certain programs.

Medicine and dentistry rising

There's no limit on how much universities can charge international students or those enrolled in graduate studies such as medicine and dentistry, where tuition is up about 30 per cent in over four years.

Most universities expect to charge more in 2016.

Kelly Regan, the advanced education minister, downplayed the impact of the higher tuition.

"Our initial, very preliminary discussions with presidents give us the impression that it would be implemented over a number of years to minimize the impact on students," she said.

Students graduating from Dalhousie with heavy debt loads have an alternative suggestion.

"Dal has $161 million in reserve funds. It would take $3.6 million to freeze tuition this year. That's the alternative," said Hutton, the student union vice-president.

"We should be trying to keep young people in province and reduce tuition fees to make it affordable."

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