FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government unveiled measures today to support students including a Renewed Tuition Bursary program and the planned reintroduction of a tuition tax credit.

The bursary program will be an extended version of the two previous tuition bursary programs, opening eligibility to those enrolled in private universities and colleges in New Brunswick.

“Our government recognizes how important access to post-secondary education is for New Brunswickers, but it needs to be fair,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “In order to ensure that funding will follow our students regardless of what post-secondary education choices they make, we are leveling the playing field by extending the bursary program to students attending private institutions so more of them can benefit.”

All students who were eligible under the previous bursary programs will be eligible under the Renewed Tuition Bursary program. It is estimated that 9,500 students will be eligible for the program in the 2019-20 academic year that begins Aug. 1. This is 1,700 more than were eligible when the program was not open to private institutions.

The bursary program will be delivered in conjunction with the Canada Student Grant for Full-time Students and provides the maximum benefit for students from families with a gross income of $60,000 or less. It employs a sliding scale which gradually reduces the benefit to students from families with incomes greater than $60,000, up to the maximum income cut-off.

As announced in the 2019-20 provincial budget, the New Brunswick tuition tax credit will be reintroduced. Amendments to the New Brunswick Income Tax Act will be introduced when the second session of the legislative assembly resumes.

The tuition tax credit will recognize the investment made in post-secondary education and will complement other student financial support and workforce programs. Between 2004 and 2016, an average of about 48,000 New Brunswickers claimed the former tuition tax credit annually, of which 34,000 were students and 14,000 were qualifying relatives. In 2016, about 87 per cent of the student claimants had taxable incomes of $50,000 or less.

Once the intended amendments to the Income Tax Act are passed, individuals will be able to claim this personal income tax credit when they file their tax return in 2020.

The Timely Completion Benefit will be discontinued although students who graduated on or before March 31, 2019 are still able to apply. In 2017-18, the benefit was received by 281 borrowers at a cost of $3.3 million.

“With so few students accessing the program, it did not meet the objectives of reducing debt loads and encouraging students to complete their studies in a timely manner,” said Holder. “The Timely Completion Benefit was helping a small number of people at a significant cost. By reintroducing the tuition tax credit, we can directly support tens of thousands of post-secondary students.”

Students and their families are encouraged to visit for more information on student financial assistance. Additionally, the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour has a variety of programs available to assist individuals with their employment goals. Those interested are encouraged to contact one of the department’s regional offices. Applications for the Student Financial Assistance program for the 2019-20 academic year are expected to be available by June 1.