As MUN students protested proposed tuition and fee changes, NDP Caucus members said that a series of government decisions has downloaded the costs of Muskrat Falls to students and their families.
“Budget 2017 government doubled the expected cut to Memorial University, ignoring the multi-year MUN Attrition Plan that government had agreed to. This cut could result in increases to tuition and other fees,” NDP Advanced Education and Skills Critic Lorraine Michael said during Question Period today.
“Will the Premier take responsibility for any tuition and other fee increases at MUN?” Government also changed student aid rules, which Michael says raises a barrier to post-secondary education for students who do not come from wealthy families.
“Last year government reduced the grant portion in the student loan program and increased the loan portion. This year students will be forced to max out the federal portion of their loan before they can qualify for a provincial grant,” she said.
“I ask the Premier will he take responsibility for imposing this new financial burden on students, or will he continue to hide behind his AESL minister?”
St. John’s Centre MHA Gerry Rogers pointed to another measure for Budgets 2016 and 2017: The book tax. It’s estimated that half of the $2 million government expects to take in from the tax will come from the sale of post-secondary textbooks.
“Budget 2016 included a poorly thought out and regressive book tax that includes books sold at post-secondary institutions, resulting in another financial burden on students' shoulders,” Rogers said.
“I ask the Premier will he do the right thing and immediately remove the tax from post-secondary textbooks?”