Memorandum of Understanding

MOU might chase out-of-province students away

Students say tuition fee increase is unfair

Emilie Novaczek. Photo: Kaanayo Nwachukwu

Out-of-province students say they expect to pay higher fees than Nova Scotia students, but further increases might lead them to reconsider their choice to study in this province.

"Nova Scotia is a province that has an education-based economy," says Emilie Novaczek, a University of King's College student from Prince Edward Island. "Increasing out of province tuition is really going to hinder that culture of vibrant educated youth that really drives Nova Scotia."

The three-year Memorandum of Understanding recently signed by the province and the university presidents also requires the parties to examine lifting the cap for domestic out-of-province students in 2013-14.

According to a Statistics Canada report, Nova Scotia had the highest undergraduate tuition fees in Canada in the 2009-2010 academic year, after Ontario.

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Russ Lawrence. Photo: Kaanayo Nwachukwu

Per year, undergraduate students in Nova Scotia pay an average tuition of $5,696. Ontario tops the list, with students paying $5,951. $4,917 is the Canadian national average.

In March 2008, the province announced it would bring Nova Scotian tuition costs to the national average by 2011.

In 2011-2012, Nova Scotia had the third-highest average tuition in Canada but out-of-province students continue to pay more than the national average.

"It encourages students not to want to come here if they have to pay more," says Frances Ashe, a Dal student and Ontario native.

Desiree MacNeil, from Alberta and also attending Dal, agrees with Ashe. She says that the province's decision would further put students in debt.

"To actually be able to pay off my debt and be a resource to this country is getting extremely difficult.... It's a backward way of thinking."

But some students disagree.

Jordan Branton, a Saint Mary's University student from Newfoundland, says he understands why out-of-province students should be asked to pay more than students from Nova Scotia.

"I don't really think there's a problem with that. It depends on how high the tuition fees are raised."

Albertan Russ Lawrence, who just graduated from Dal and is now applying for a masters program, sees the decision as part of the price to pay "for the lifestyle in Halifax and enjoying yourself that comes with going to Dalhousie."

To him, what is more frustrating than increases in tuition is how expensive it is to live in a Dal residence. 

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