NSCC head floats free tuition idea


Praxius
#1


http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/Front/9006035.html

Quote:

Should university and college tuition be free?


The president of the Nova Scotia Community College says that’s a question people should be asking themselves because 89 per cent of jobs in the province will require a post-secondary education by 2011.

“What if Nova Scotia decided we would be the first jurisdiction in our country where post-secondary education was free? And what difference would that make to making a creative economy?” Joan MacArthur-Blair said Tuesday during a meeting of the legislature’s standing committee on human resources.

“I think it is a radical statement because in order to do it, all of us individually would have to step forward because we are all taxpayers to bear the burden of that.”

NSCC spokeswoman Stacey Baillie said the figure of 89 per cent was reached by the school’s researchers using Statistics Canada numbers. She said as of May 2007, 82 per cent of jobs in Nova Scotia required a post-secondary education.

The committee heard that 58 per cent of high school graduates go straight into the work force after graduation.

Health Minister Chris d’Entremont, a member of the committee, said providing free tuition would be “very, very expensive” and not realistic right now.

“We would also have to be very sure what the outcome would be and I don’t know what that outcome is just yet,” he said. “Will we be able to employ all of them? Will we be able to have those people working in the new economy in Nova Scotia? What exactly does the new economy in Nova Scotia look like?”

But New Democrat MLA Marilyn More said it is an idea worth considering.

“I think it could be a very important plank in the poverty reduction strategy for this province,” she said. “Obviously providing post-secondary education to a larger number of Nova Scotians could have a huge, tremendous impact on both our economy and people living in low-income circumstances.”

Ms. More pegged the cost of providing free tuition to the NSCC at about $13 million and $20 million a year over the next few years. The school collected $13 million in tuition in 2007.

Liberal MLA Leo Glavine said he likes the idea of free tuition for both universities and community colleges.

“I think it is of tremendous value to take a look at in Nova Scotia,” he said. “A highly educated society is absolutely critical to our future.”

Mr. Glavine said he wished the province used some of its offshore royalties for “something dramatic like” free post-secondary education, but he then said it is even more necessary to pay down the provincial debt.

“While I personally would like to see more going into educating the next generation of Nova Scotians, the reality is we have ... to get our debt under control,” he said. “So (free tuition) may not be that realistic.”

Ms. MacArthur-Blair said the college “tries to twist and turn in every possible way” to keep financially strapped students in the programs — whether it’s deferring fees or giving them special bursaries or finding emergency funding. The school’s base tuition is $2,600 a year.

She said in 2006, 91 per cent of graduates were employed and of those grads, 93 per cent were living and working in Nova Scotia. Nearly 80 per cent of students working in Nova Scotia were employed in the county or adjacent county to the campus where they got their education, she said.

Ms. MacArthur-Blair said the college intentionally aligns itself with the economy of Nova Scotia, providing education in fields that need workers.
“Our students know that when they leave us for the most part there is a job here and if they choose to travel the world, travel Canada, that becomes a personal choice, rather than a forced choice,” she said.

Well if tuitions were free, which they always should have been (Education and Health should be top priorities in a developed society) I wouldn't be in the mess I'm in now.... all because you apparently get a better job and a better pay with a post secondary education.

Well I got one, and the friends I have who dropped out of high school..... they're getting paid more then I am..... Does this make sense? Now here they are already starting their families, no loans and tuition costs to be dangling over their heads everyday of their lives, getting paid more then I, and I was the idiot who got suckered into the hype that a 2ndary education would make me go further in life......

.... hell, I haven't seen one employer in the last decade of me working actually look beyond what was written on my resume. I could have said I went to Ronald MacDonald's Clown College and they still wouldn't have verified it. My friggin Diplomas arn't worth the damn paper they're printed on, let alone the thousands of dollars I threw into this crap on things I could have easily learned online for free (All the books I learned from are online, I found them myself and downloaded them.... page for page, picture by picture.)

Health and Education should be always free.... they help to better our society as a whole and are needed for a productive life. To exploit these needs to make a buck is and always has been wrong.
 
Tonington
#2
I'm somewhere in-between free education and what we have now. I could certainly benefit if the tuition rates were lower, but for the most part, the living expenses are the bulk of my expenses. My tuition is pretty low, compared to other institutions here in Nova Scotia. I pay $5500 for a full course load. When my brother graduated from Acadia, I think it was closer to $8000, and likely higher still now.

I'd be OK with something like they have in Quebec. Quebec residents pay a dirt cheap price, and out of province students pay a higher rate.

The Education Minister is right. Higher taxes, decreased funding to other programs, or a combination of the two would be needed. With no mention of what happens after graduation. Would I be forced to work here in NS for a period, or face fines if I move elsewhere?

I am a former grad of the NSCC. From there I went to the NSAC in Truro where I am now working on my degree. Unfortunately, the Aquaculture program was ended at NSCC, due to a lack of enrollment. In Newfoundland, their enrollment in Aquaculture training is down as well. Just this month and the coming month, we have recruiters from across Canada and Internationally coming to our school to attract students. Our enrollment remains steady, and shows signs of improving. Maybe industry might want to get on board with more scholarships and bursaries. I know I'd give serious pause if some company helped fund my education.
 
Scott Free
#3
I like the idea. Many details would have to be worked out but I would rather my tax money went to educating young adults than the political elites personal coffers.
 
karrie
#4
I don't know. My anecdotal experience (I repeat, anecdotal, don't ask for stats or waste your time pointing out to me that it's merely *my* experience ) has been that people who have their way paid for them often waste a lot of their time, and other people's money, at school.
 
Nuggler
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by karrie View Post

I don't know. My anecdotal experience (I repeat, anecdotal, don't ask for stats or waste your time pointing out to me that it's merely *my* experience ) has been that people who have their way paid for them often waste a lot of their time, and other people's money, at school.

Oh sure...sour grapes....prove it.....come on........where's the facts........???

I can name a few, Karrie.......course, what does that prove, eh.

 
Tonington
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by karrie View Post

I don't know. My anecdotal experience (I repeat, anecdotal, don't ask for stats or waste your time pointing out to me that it's merely *my* experience ) has been that people who have their way paid for them often waste a lot of their time, and other people's money, at school.

Just for a little clarification, would that be students whose parents pay the bills, or students who have scholarships, or perhaps both?
 
TenPenny
#7
I agree with Karrie, the people I've seen waste time/money were a combination - some wasted their parents money, some wasted 'other' money, ie, scholarships (usually only for a year, then they lost them) or, in some cases, paid by gov't.

It's often said that people place a value on something based on its price - and a free education won't be valued by people. I think it's a bad idea.
 
Zan
#8
An easy way to alleviate abuse of the system would be repayment agreements ...those who complete their program get most or all of their tuition paid for... those who drop out or fail have to pay back every cent the taxpayers invested in them.

I believe we need to find some way to make education more accessible. Getting an education shouldn't be such a burden... so many young people starting out their lives saddled with debt. If we want qualified and innovative people running the show when our turn's over, we need to invest something towards that goal. I'd be willing to divert some of my tax dollars in that direction, for sure.
 
Praxius
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPenny View Post

I agree with Karrie, the people I've seen waste time/money were a combination - some wasted their parents money, some wasted 'other' money, ie, scholarships (usually only for a year, then they lost them) or, in some cases, paid by gov't.

It's often said that people place a value on something based on its price - and a free education won't be valued by people. I think it's a bad idea.

Tell you what, if they fail their course, they have to pay back to the provience the cost of their education. If they pass, then who cares what they did during their time, so long as they know what they're doing?

We put enough money into them through property tax, tax on our food, our fuel for cars, heat for our homes, our smokes, our drinks, pretty much everything. I think if they are going to require us to have college/university education in order to have a decent job, then we shouldn't be charged through the arse to do it.

Too many people get into the wrong career because they know they can get more money, while those who are actually interested in the profession, usually can not afford it, or have to be stuck with huge debts, and usually won't try.
Last edited by Praxius; Mar 25th, 2008 at 08:28 PM..
 

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