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(Halifax) CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador will be joining today with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) in their fight for universal access to public, post-secondary education on their National Day of Action.

CUPE President Wayne Lucas says, The decline in access to post-secondary education represents a real crisis for society, and nobody seems to be addressing it.

During the 1990s, tuition fees in Newfoundland and Labrador increased by 146%. During this same period, average student debt loads here increased from $8,000 in 1990 to almost $30,000 today. Thats the highest in the country, says Lucas.

Lucas says there are solutions to this crisis, and hes calling on government to:

  • Legislate an immediate freeze on tuition fees, followed by a progressive reduction. This would include all post-secondary institutions in the province.
  • Increase post-secondary funding, as an investment in our future.
  • Reinstate a comprehensive system of grants that are available to all students on the basis of need.
  • Call upon the federal government to restore its funding to post-secondary education and to negotiate a national agreement on standards of (1) quality, (2) accessibility, and (3) mobility for post-secondary education.

Says Lucas, This province needs to chart its own course on post-secondary education. We cannot sit back and watch this happen, simply because the federal government has abandoned its commitment on this critical issue.

For information:
Wayne Lucas, President, CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador
(709) 727-2509 (Cell)
(709) 726-8208 (h)
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Rep.
(902) 455-4180 (o)