FREDERICTON (GNB) – The government announced today that 76 per cent of student financial assistance recipients attending publicly funded universities or colleges in the province in the 2017-18 academic year qualified for the Free Tuition Program or Tuition Relief for the Middle Class.

“Through the Free Tuition Program and the Tuition Relief for the Middle Class program, our government has made the dream of pursing higher education more accessible and achievable for New Brunswick students,” said Post-Secondary Education Minister Roger Melanson. “Your government is committed to making post-secondary education accessible and affordable for New Brunswick students, and that is why we are pleased with the success of both the Free Tuition Program and Tuition Relief for The Middle Class program.”

More than 6,000 students have qualified for the Free Tuition Program and more than 1,300 students have qualified for Tuition Relief for the Middle Class for the 2017-18 academic year.

The Free Tuition Program, which was introduced prior to the 2016-17 academic year, covers the tuition costs of students whose gross family income is $60,000 or less.

Tuition Relief for the Middle Class, which was introduced prior to the 2017-18 academic year, covers a portion of tuition costs for students whose family income is more than $60,000. The value of this program is based on family size and income, with the amount of tuition relief decreasing as the student’s family income increases.

Both programs are delivered through the Student Financial Assistance program in conjunction with the Canada Student Grant for Full-Time Students.

“We are pleased by this government’s continued commitment to working with our organisation to ensure that any qualified student can access post-secondary education in this province, regardless of financial capacity,” said Samuel Titus, acting executive director of the New Brunswick Student Alliance. “The positive impact of these programs has been felt by our membership and likewise all students across the province. We look forward to continuing these discussions in the coming months.”

“To improve the quality of life for New Brunswick families, one of the best investments we can make is in education and training,” said Melanson. “Your government will continue to invest in our post-secondary institutions and make students a priority.”

The government is investing the most in public education in the province’s history. In support of its 10-year education plans, the government is investing an extra $56 million in the education budget for 2017-18, an increase of $103 million since 2014-15.