Students Speak Out Against Debt and for the Future of Nova Scotia
For Immediate Release
Halifax, NS – Today, Students Nova Scotia (StudentsNS) launched its #StudentsSpeakOut campaign to bring attention to the financial difficulties that many students confront and how these impact on the entire province’s wellbeing. The campaign includes video interviews with students and a petition to the Province’s MLAs.
“Students and graduates are facing high unemployment and falling earnings, even though in the next decade 70% of new jobs will require a post-secondary credential”, said StudentsNS Executive Director, Jonathan Williams. “When you consider also that Nova Scotia has among the world’s highest student debt levels, the imperative for action couldn’t be any clearer.”
The Students Speak Out video gives faces to the stories of students who owe between $14,000 and $75,000 and are worried about their employment prospects. Research shows that graduates with higher student debt loads are more likely to leave the Maritimes after graduation in hopes of paying off their loans as quickly as possible.
“I actually know a few people who refuse, who won’t go to school because they don’t want to owe $30,000 at the end of their education, and they’re very scared to”, said Collette Robert, a student from Saint Mary’s University.
“I’m already in an economically depressed area here in Cape Breton and it’s not going to make things easy staying here; a lot of people that I know that accumulate debt have to go out west” said Brandon Ellis, a student at Cape Breton University.
The Campaign calls on the Provincial Government to build the best student financial assistance program in Canada, freeze university tuition at 0% growth until youth unemployment recovers, and give students the power to choose whether new fees are approved for non-academic services like athletics facilities. The student assistance improvements could be funded through redirecting ineffective and regressive student and graduate tax credits.
“We are calling for decisive action from the Province to improve post-secondary access, reduce student debt and by extension retain youth,” said StudentsNS Chair Amy Brierley. “The costs of implementing our proposals are minimal, but the benefits would be life-changing for individuals and for our communities.”
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Students Nova Scotia (StudentsNS) is a not-for-profit and non-partisan advocacy group that represents 38,452 Nova Scotia post-secondary students, including 87% of the university student population. Our members study at Acadia, Cape Breton, Dalhousie, Saint Mary’s, and St. Francis Xavier Universities, the Kingstec Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, and the Atlantic School of Theology.
For more information or questions, please contact:
Jonathan Williams, StudentsNS Executive Director
Amy Brierley, StudentsNS Chair