New Brunswick's minister of post-secondary education, training and labour has asked staff to track the number of students turned down for a tuition access bursary because of bad credit.

Students over the age of 22 must submit to a credit check before qualifying for the "free tuition" program, also known as TAB.

Don Arseneault, the minister, was asked about the requirement Thursday as a legislature committee studied his department's budget estimates.

Dubé asked Arseneault several times during the committee meeting to explain the need for a credit check when students are attempting to get a bursary, not a loan.

"Why do we need a credit check for free money that they will give?" she asked.

"For those more mature students, when they heard about the TAB program and free tuition, they thought 'Oh my God, this is my time, I can turn my life around.'"

We know there's a barrier," said executive director Robert Burroughs. "We know we can knock down this barrier, and I'm really unsure as to why we aren't putting our efforts into that.

"You can't continue to say that this is an accessibility program and a free tuition program and market it that way if there are barriers for certain students who would disproportionately try to access this program."

Minister pressed on why credit checks are necessary for 'free tuition' - New Brunswick - CBC News