REGINA – Representatives from four parties took part in a forum at the University of Regina to woo local post-secondary students who are facing some of the highest tuition costs in the country.
“We want the government to understand that for us as students, tuition is a huge issue,” Lynn Barber, student union vice-president of external affairs, said.
The forum fell on the same day the NDP released their plans for affordable college and university education.
“First is a $1000 scholarship for students to reduce tuition,” Cam Broten said to reporters in Saskatoon.
Along with doubling the annual scholarship for students, Broten says he’ll also convert provincial student loans to grants, eliminate interest on student loans, and work with institutions to regulate tuition fees.
READ MORE: NDP promise post-secondary funding, tuition regulation
We’ve got to be able to afford all these things. – Brad Wall
The Saskatchewan party cut back on post-secondary funding last year due to the economic downturn, but maintain they will boost their contribution to students when they are able.
READ MORE: Millions cut from college, university budgets due to Sask. gov’t deficit
“When the finances of the province strengthen again, we’ll move our Saskatchewan Advantage scholarship, which is the same thing [the NDP] are promising, from $500 where it is today, to $750,” Wall said.
Saskatchewan Liberals do not have specifics in place for how they’ll help post secondary students with tuition yet.
“We don’t have a set number at all,” Regina Wascana Plains Liberal Candidate Gulraiz Tariq said.
“We do know that we’ll increase funding because that is a concern.”
The Green Party is holding fast to a core component of their party’s ideology, which would be to get rid of tuition costs completely, which would take federal help and an overhaul of education finances.
“I think we can work with citizens and redesign our education funding and cover off tuition,” Green Party Leader Victor Lau said.
“They still have to pay for books, they still have to do living costs and so on… but we feel tuition could be covered off.”
According to Stats Canada, tuition fees rose by 2.9% from the 2014-15 school year to 2015-2016. Saskatchewan undergraduates pay an average of $6,885 per year, the second highest in Canada.