FREDERICTON (GNB) – The total budget for the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour for 2012-13 is $588,302,000, up almost two per cent from the previous fiscal year. Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Martine Coulombe made this announcement while releasing the department’s latest budget estimates.

"Post-secondary education and immigration help drive economic growth in New Brunswick," said Coulombe. "Although we had to make difficult financial decisions, I am pleased we were able to increase funding in a responsible manner in areas that are important to our government."

New measures targeted to post-secondary education include:

●    an additional $4 million to support public universities;
●    the addition of 10 seats at the New Brunswick Dalhousie medical school;
●    $1 million added to the low-income family bursary fund;
●    increasing to $100 per week the amount that a student may earn at work without having his or her student loan affected;
●    a $5-million investment over five years to create integrated, highly collaborative, student-centred learning environments at the New Brunswick Community College, Miramichi campus; and
●    $1 million to fund 231 additional seats at the New Brunswick Community College, the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick and the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design.

A total of 140 seats at the New Brunswick Community College, 40 at the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick and 51 at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design will be added to meet the needs of post-secondary education students in New Brunswick.

"To help finance the growing demands of public colleges and universities, a $200-tuition increase for community college students has been approved by the respective boards of governors, and I have asked universities to limit the tuition increase to $175,” Coulombe said. "In times of fiscal restraint, it is normal for everybody to do their part."
New funding for immigration includes:

●    $500,000 for New Brunswick's participation in the Atlantic Population Table: and
●    $2 million for increased settlement services.
"Immigrants are contributing to the social, economic and cultural fabric of our province," Coulombe said. "It is important we help them become a part of our communities and help them as they embark on their settlement and integration journey."

To move toward a greater cost recovery delivery model, the following fees are being increased:

●    immigrant entrepreneur application fee, $2,000; and Skilled Worker Immigrant application fee, $250, effective April 17, 2012;
●    block training registration, $400 per block, effective Aug. 1, 2012; and
●    private career colleges fees, $700 per college and $100 per program offered, effective April 1, 2012.

"While these fees will help the provincial government recuperate some of its operational costs, a $2.6-million reduction in departmental expenditures was realized to meet government's overall budget objectives," the minister said.

Expenditure savings include:

●    $375,000 in community adult learning by offering a more relevant and effective program through the migration of community access centres to mobile e-learning classes;
●    $120,000 in student financial assistance by upgrading to new application processing technology; and
●    $600,000 in regional transfer agreements for post-secondary education.