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January 14, 1999

Premier, Education Minister increase operating grants for Memorial University, College of the North Atlantic

Premier Brian Tobin, together with Education Minister Judy Foote, today announced government's intention to increase the operating grants for both Memorial University of Newfoundland and the College of the North Atlantic.

Government has committed an additional $7 million to Memorial University, increasing the institution's operating budget to $106 million. The College of the North Atlantic will receive an increase of $4.9 million, raising its operating budget to $45.4 million. The funding increase is for fiscal years 1999-2000 and 2000-2001.

"We have increased the operating budgets of these institutions in the hopes that it will allow both the university and the college to freeze their tuition levels for the next two years," said the premier.

"The student debt load ratio is a national concern. The funding measures we have announced today will go a long way in addressing both the needs of the students and the needs of our public education institutions," said Premier Tobin.

Minister Foote noted that the increase to the operating grants should bring stability both to the students and to the institutions. "This additional funding should facilitate a freeze on tuition rates, thereby eliminating the uncertainty generated by rising tuition costs that students have had to cope with every year."

Officials from both Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic welcomed the announcement.

"This is good news for the university, the public college and students of our province," said Ed Roberts, chairman of Memorial University's Board of Regents. "This will allow the university to continue to deliver quality educational programs while maintaining tuition costs at their current level."

"No tuition increase is the best birthday present that government could give to Memorial University students on our 50th anniversary as a degree-granting institution," said university president Dr. Art May.

Vince Withers, chairman of the college's Board of Governors, also said he was pleased with the announcement. "Government has recognized the need to respond constructively to the pressing financial needs of students and the college. This is a very encouraging and welcome initiative."

College president Dr. Ron Sparkes said: "Government's financial commitment to its public college and university represents very sound economic and social policy in step with future economic growth and well-being. The additional $4.9 million is very significant and enables the College of the North Atlantic to maintain the delivery of education and training services, matched with the economic development thrusts of the regional economic development zone boards. This support is particularly important to our campuses in rural Newfoundland and Labrador."

Media contact: Nancy Healey, Director of Communications, (709) 729-0048.

1999 01 14                                 9:15 a.m.

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