The Office of the Premier
Confederation Building, East Block
P.O. Box 8700
St. John’s, NL
Dear Premier Dwight Ball,
I write to you on behalf of the Carleton University Graduate Students’ Association, which represents approximately 4,000 graduate students. In solidarity with the students of Newfoundland and Labrador, we call on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to reinstate the longstanding tuition fee freeze for all students in the province, and to restore public funding for post-secondary education.
While the implementation of a partial tuition freeze for people from Newfoundland and Labrador – a campaign promise of the newly elected Liberal majority government – is a good step, it’s not going far enough. Reinstating the tuition freeze for all students studying in Newfoundland and Labrador, including those from other places, is in line with the long-term needs of Newfoundland and Labrador and will help the Liberal Government achieve one of its ‘top priorities.’
During the campaign period, the Liberal Party identified population growth as critical for the future of the province. According to the Liberal Party website, one of the main goals is to ensure that public policy is aimed at attracting and retaining qualified working-age people and their families. Data obtained by the previous Government of Newfoundland and Labrador found that the 15 year long tuition fee freeze has successfully attracted and retained youth, as approximately 86% of post-secondary graduates remain in Newfoundland and Labrador after graduation. Failing to remain competitive for out-of-province and foreign students threatens Newfoundland and Labrador’s ability to attract and retain students from diverse backgrounds and works directly against the government’s professed goal of building a stronger, more diversified population and economy.
The previous government’s short-sighted decision to cancel the tuition fee freeze and cut more than $20 million in core-operating funding to Memorial University will come with grave consequences, unless such funding is restored. We urge you to not make the same mistakes as your predecessor. Continuing the province’s 15 year legacy of a tuition freeze for all students and restoring funding to colleges and universities is in the best interest of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.