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Mount Saint Vincent University. (SOURCE: Facebook)

Student housing a focus in new one-year agreement with Universities

By Caitlin Snow Feb 2, 2024 | 2:34 PM

The new agreement is to replace the current memorandum of understanding and will cost an additional $3.6 million to operate.

The 2024-25 agreements include:
– a two per cent cap on tuition increases for all Nova Scotian undergraduate students, compared with the three per cent cap under the previous agreement
– a requirement to fill health program seats to an average enrolment rate of at least 97 per cent
– a requirement for institutions to develop international student sustainability plans outlining how these students will be recruited, housed and connected to the labour market: more than 12,000 were enrolled in Nova Scotian Universities in 2022-23 (more than 25 per cent of total enrollment)
– a requirement for universities in Halifax Regional Municipality and Cape Breton Regional Municipality (areas where student housing needs are highest) to begin to increase student housing
– a requirement for institutions to work together to develop an inter-university plan to reduce administrative expenses by a minimum of five per cent
– a minimum tuition increase of nine per cent for first-year international undergraduate student tuition (except for Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College, because of an increase in the previous year).

Brian Wong, Minister of Advanced Education says, “We have built in several accountability measures tied to student housing, healthcare training and planning for a more sustainable and successful future.”

If targets are reached, most Universities will get a two per cent increase in operating grants.

The government provided $461.4 million to institutions last year.

Meanwhile, the Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents says the agreement is “extremely distressing,”. Council Chair, David C. Dingwall says they did not get the chance to consult with Nova Scotia on the one-year agreement and hopes to get more clarity from Minister Brian Wong on expectations and to make clear the possible consequences.

Dingwall says it’s the second of ‘two ”serious blows”, the first being a cap on student visas, which he says could potentially cost Nova Scotia millions of dollars and harm the province’s reputation as an education destination.