International costs increase due to Nova Scotia’s funding model

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Posted on February 7, 2024


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Universities in Nova Scotia will have to increase tuition for out-of-country students and provide additional housing under a new funding arrangement.

The plans were unveiled by Brian Wong, the minister of advanced education for Nova Scotia. “We have an incredible opportunity to remain a top education destination and position the university sector for the bold vision we have for our province,” Wong said.

“These agreements acknowledge the distinctive characteristics of each university and adopt a student-centered approach. A number of accountability measures related to healthcare training, student housing, and future success planning have been incorporated.

In contrast to the previous agreement’s 3% cap, the 2024–2025 accords put a 2% cap on tuition increases for all undergraduate students in Nova Scotia.

Meanwhile, two universities, Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College, will be exempt from the minimum tuition rise of 9% for first-year international undergraduate students due to an increase from the prior year.

Plans detailing the recruitment, housing, and employment connections of overseas students must be created by each of the province’s ten educational institutions.

Halifax and Cape Breton universities will have to start building more dorms for students. These are the areas with the greatest need for student accommodation, according to the government of Nova Scotia.

Wong stated that organizations need to answer for the “significant government funding, public dollars they receive” during a press conference on February 2.

“There is an extraordinary need for workers during this time. Our housing situation is dire. Immigration exists. Those are issues that we must resolve,” he continued.

Senior university administrators, however, have not taken well to the news. The Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents, for example, has expressed opposition to the plans after being excluded from consultations.

The CONSUP letter emphasized that the universities of Nova Scotia have suffered “two serious blows” in the last two weeks.

The first was the declaration by the federal government that it would be capping the number of new visas granted to foreign students. The government claimed that this action might result in millions of dollars in lost revenue for Nova Scotia’s universities and harm the province’s standing as a destination for higher education.

CONSUP stated that “both levels of government have created an elevated level of uncertainty across Nova Scotia’s university sector” in conjunction with the most recent pronouncement from the provincial government.

12,212 foreign students attended Nova Scotia universities in total in 2022–2023, making up 25% of all students enrolled.

Additionally, the plans increase most colleges’ yearly operational grants by 2% from 1%. Some of this, meanwhile, will not be available until colleges meet certain goals outlined in their agreements.

The government of Nova Scotia stated that each university will also be required to create proposals for 2025 to 2028 detailing how they will further government priorities like housing, healthcare, and meeting labor market demands. The government further stated that these proposals will inform longer-term agreements between the province and universities, which are scheduled to be finalized in the upcoming year.