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Advanced Education and Skills
March 27, 2014

Budget 2014 Reduces Student Debt to Historic Lows

Ensuring Newfoundlanders and Labradorians continue to have access to a high-quality education at an affordable cost, supported by the best student aid program in the country, the Provincial Government will eliminate provincial student loans and replace them with non-repayable up-front grants. Budget 2014 commits $14.7 million for two years to complete the conversion of student loans to grants, with a projected investment of approximately $50.6 million over five years.

The Provincial Government is further demonstrating its commitment to reducing student debt by investing an additional $5.1 million this year to continue the tuition freeze for students attending Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic.

“The job outlook in Newfoundland and Labrador is very strong and in the coming years we will need a well-educated workforce to meet labour demands. The conversion of loans to grants will allow students to accumulate far less debt during the course of their studies and supports increased enrolment in educational institutions. Our goal is to have more students pursue a post-secondary education and encourage them to stay here, where their talents and skills will play a role in this province’s future success.”
- The Honourable Kevin O’Brien, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills

Labour Market Training
Budget 2014 provides an investment of $39.8 million to continue the development of a skilled workforce in Newfoundland and Labrador. This funding will support training and advance apprentices, while securing still more skilled workers for employers. It will continue ongoing efforts to encourage immigrants to work, settle and raise families in the province, and help ensure under-represented groups such as women, persons with disabilities, and Aboriginal persons have the necessary skills and opportunity to secure employment.

Infrastructure
Budget 2014 provides over $19 million in infrastructure funding for Memorial University, including $5 million to support continued modernization of the university’s older student residences and $2.6 million for ongoing modernization of science labs. The Provincial Government is providing $4 million in Budget 2014 for infrastructure at College of the North Atlantic, including $1.5 million for a medical sciences lab at the Grand Falls-Windsor campus and $1.7 million for industrial shop modernization at college campuses.

“Since 2004, this government has invested over $2.7 billion in Memorial University and another $742 million in College of the North Atlantic. Because of our continued and significant investments in programming, infrastructure and other needs, post-secondary institutions in this province have been able to further support students by offering the lowest tuition for university undergraduate programs in Canada, and affordable student housing. We are proud of our record and remain committed to supporting post-secondary students and institutions in the years ahead.”
- Minister O’Brien

Further details on post-secondary investments can be found in the Backgrounders: Investments in Labour Market Training, Infrastructure and Less is More: Budget 2014 Reduces Student Debt to Historic Lows.

Through sound fiscal management and responsible decisions, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is strengthening the business environment, encouraging the development of innovative industries and building a vibrant economy.

QUICK FACTS

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Media contact:

John Tompkins
Director of Communications
Department of Advanced Education and Skills
709-729-0753, 728-7762
jtompkins@gov.nl.ca

2014 03 27                                  2:35 p.m.

 
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