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Tuition fee increases are capped at 2%, but international students will pay more.

Nova Scotia:

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Shirreff Hall, a student residence at Dalhousie University in Halifax, December 16, 2022.

Radio-Canada

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The government of New Scotland requires universities to meet certain targets, including on student accommodation, if they are to receive their funding in the coming financial year.

On Friday, the province detailed a new funding model for its 10 universities. Lasting one year, it comes into force on April 1.

The province limits possible increases in tuition fees to 2%, but calls for them to increase by 9% for international students.

The annual operating budget of most universities will increase by 2% in 2024 -2025, double what was agreed in the previous agreement.

These agreements adopt a student-centered approach, Minister of Higher Education Brian Wong said in a press release on Friday. We have anchored several accountability measures, related to student housing [and] health care training.

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In a province hit for several years by a severe housing crisis, the government is asking that universities manage to accommodate at least 15% of their full-time students on their campuses.

Currently, Cape Breton University (CBU), Dalhousie University and the Nova Scotia College of Arts and Design (NSCAD) are not meeting this target.

Universities could see 10% of their funding withheld by the province until they demonstrate how they plan to increase student housing.

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Saint Mary's University, in Halifax. (File photo)

The province is particularly calling on universities in the Halifax and Cape Breton regional municipalities to begin increasing available housing, as those two locations are where the needs are most urgent. In Halifax, Dalhousie University already plans to add 200 apartments while in Cape Breton, CBU plans to add 300.

S 'there is no progress in this regard, the provincial government is also threatening to cap the number of registrations.

In 2024-2025, tuition fee increases cannot exceed 2% in Nova Scotia. The old ceiling was 3%.

Conversely, a minimum increase of 9% in tuition fees awaits international students from undergraduates who are in their first year of study — except at Dalhousie and King's College universities, where they were already increased last year.

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Joban Kaur (left) and Maisha Rahman (right), two women from India who are students at Cape Breton University (CBU), Nova Scotia, October 18, 2023.

The agreement also requires universities to develop a sustainable plan for international students, explaining how they will be recruited, accommodated and connected to the workplace.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">In 2022-2023, there were 12,212 international students in Nova Scotia, or about one in four students.

The Nova Scotia government was elected in 2021 with big promises to fix gaps in the health care system. The new agreement with universities requires them to have enrollment rates of at least 97% in certain health programs.

If this target is not met, the majority of universities would lose 3% of their funding. For Dalhousie, this would be a loss of 10%.

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Founded in 1818 in Halifax, Dalhousie University is the higher education institution with the most students in Nova Scotia. (Archive photo)

We also want universities to submit a plan by the end of next summer that will explain to the government how they intend to contribute to provincial priorities from 2025 to 2028.

Minister Brian Wong specifies that the government wants to know in particular how university programs meet specific labor needs.

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Brian Wong is Nova Scotia's Minister of Advanced Education. (File photo)

Overall funding for universities amounted to $461.1 million in 2023-24, according to the government of Nova Scotia. Additional funding under this one-year plan is estimated at $3.6 million.

In a press release Friday, the Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents spoke of a second hard blow in two weeks. The Trudeau government announced last month a two-year cap for foreign students accepted into Canada, due in particular to the housing crisis.

The new agreement creates unjustified financial burden on many universities, these presidents claim.

Kim Brooks, president of Dalhousie University, says expenses have increased faster than provincial grants. We were already budgeting tighter, because of the economic climate and projected enrollment, she said.

We are learning now that our immediate budget decisions will be a little more difficult, she says.

Based on information fromLuke EttingerofCBC

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