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Advanced Education and Skills
Natural Resources
April 4, 2014

Affordable Education Supports Prosperity

Memorial University Students Celebrate Historic Investments

The Canadian Federation of Students – Newfoundland and Labrador hosted events today at Memorial University’s St. John’s and Grenfell campuses to celebrate the Provincial Government’s groundbreaking investments in student aid, including the conversion of student loans to grants announced through Budget 2014: Shared Prosperity, Fair Society, Balanced Outlook. The Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, joined students at an event held in the University Centre at Memorial University. The Honourable Derrick Dalley, Minister of Natural Resources, attended a second celebration at Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook.

“The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador recognizes the value of post-secondary education for students, their communities and the economy of the province. Budget 2014 commits $14.7 million for two years to eliminate provincial student loans, with a projected investment of approximately $50.6 million over five years, and is the latest in a number of initiatives aimed at reducing student debt.  We appreciate students’ recognition of the historic investments in post-secondary education and the fact that Newfoundland and Labrador has the best student aid package and lowest undergraduate tuition in the country.”
- The Honourable Charlene Johnson, Finance Minister and President of Treasury Board

By replacing provincial student loans with non-repayable grants, approximately 7,000 students annually are expected to receive up-front grant assistance to help them access post-secondary education. Effective August 1, 2014, the provincial student loan will be decreased by $20 per week of study, and the grant portion will be increased by $20. Effective August 1, 2015, provincial student loans will be completely replaced with non-repayable grants.

“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. With the complete elimination of provincial student loans and replacement with up-front, needs-based grants, students will see a significant reduction in the amount to be repaid as a student loan. It is our hope that these types of initiatives will not only encourage students to pursue their post-secondary education in this province, but they will choose to stay here and play a role in our continued success.”
- The Honourable Kevin O’Brien, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills

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. Since 2005 the Provincial Government has invested more than $282 million to freeze tuition fees, making Newfoundland and Labrador’s students the envy of the country.

“It is an exciting time in Newfoundland and Labrador’s natural resource sector and we are in this together to ensure a vibrant future for our province. We are committed to affordable education and to providing students with every opportunity to participate in large-scale industrial developments such as Hebron, Muskrat Falls and the Long Harbour processing facility.”
- The Honourable Derrick Dalley, Minister of Natural Resources

Budget 2014 allocates funding for additional initiatives to help Memorial University prepare students for work, including $1.9 million to increase base funding at the Fisheries and Marine Institute to continue the expansion of educational programming, research and student services for continued growth in the ocean sector. The Provincial Government is also providing $1.1 million to continue the expansion of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science in the priority areas of ocean, arctic and offshore energy, to support major project development and encourage private-sector industry partnerships. 

“As governments across Canada have downloaded the cost of post-secondary education onto students and their families, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has chosen to buck this trend by taking measures to improve the accessibility of post-secondary education. Eliminating provincial student loans in favour of need-based grants and maintaining the tuition freeze will have a positive impact on students, our families, and the province as a whole. By investing in students, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is ensuring the province’s future prosperity both socially and economically.”
- Michael Walsh, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students – Newfoundland and Labrador

Budget 2014 includes further support for students through the $3.5 million for the Summer Employment Programs for Students which provides wage subsides to businesses and non-profit groups to hire up to 2,000 students this year.


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Media contacts:

Tansy Mundon
Director of Communications
Department of Finance
709-729-6830, 693-1865
John Tompkins
Director of Communications
Department of Advanced Education and Skills
709-729-0753, 728-7762

Diana Quinton
Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources
709-729-5282, 631-8155
Michael Walsh
Canadian Federation of Students -  Newfoundland and Labrador
709-737-3204, 685-3203

2014 04 04            2:05 p.m.


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