Canadian Federation of Students’ Campaign: Demand High Quality and Accessible Post-Secondary Education for Fall 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing the ongoing issues at our universities and colleges exacerbated. We need to ensure we address the immediate concerns for students, faculty, and staff for Fall 2020 while taking on the ongoing post-secondary education crisis.

We, the StFX Association of University Teachers (StFXAUT), are joining in the call for students, faculty, and staff to unite in making higher quality and accessible post-secondary education for all by asking for the immediate:

1) Reduction of tuition fees and increase of bursaries for the 2020-2021 Academic year,

2) Commitment to no involuntary layoffs in the higher-education section, and

3) Moratorium on cuts to programs and services.

Add your voice of concern to the Canadian Federation of Students’ campaign by signing the online form or sending a letter (sample below), which will be sent to your MLA, MP, and all Nova Scotia University Presidents (you have the option of deselecting which representatives receive your form letter) to let them know tuition hikes, layoffs, and other concessions are not OK!

Sample letter:

Dear [recipient name will go here],

The COVID-19 pandemic has called attention to the urgent need to strengthen public services and infrastructure to support good health outcomes now and, later, effective social and economic recovery. Universities and colleges will play an important role in both phases across Canada.

In Nova Scotia, institutions of higher education are significant regional employers. They also bring and will bring again, significant numbers of students into the province and continue to offer opportunities to strengthen our public institutions, provide graduates for a wide range of businesses and industries, advance the knowledge we need to protect public health and safety, and energize our economy.

Declining levels of support to post-secondary education in this century have created an over-reliance on tuition revenues, especially international tuition fees. This solution is not available if significant drops in international enrollments are realized under continuing travel restrictions.

Universities and colleges are already hard at work preparing for the fall term and the extra preparation time it will require. Fiscal uncertainty is undermining these efforts. Businesses are being given financial support to help them survive now and recover when the state of emergency is over. But no lifeline has been held out to Nova Scotia’s post-secondary institutions.

We urgently call on the Province of Nova Scotia, the Federal government, and university administrations to support our higher-education sector through this crisis. Help us protect our institutions, our students, and our work for Nova Scotia.

In particular, we call on you to implement the following measures:

  1. Reduce student tuition and increase student bursaries for the 2020/21 academic year. Many students will not be able to secure sufficient savings through summer jobs and federal income supports. Post-secondary education must be made more affordable this year.
  2. Commit to no involuntary layoffs in the higher-education sector. The federal government has already committed to helping businesses by contributing a large percentage of employee salaries during this pandemic. We urge that this policy be extended to universities and colleges.
  3. Do not allow cuts to programs and services. Even with federal and provincial assistance, post-secondary institutions may face significant deficits this coming academic year. Universities and colleges must be given sufficient support to manage this situation without any cuts to or constraints on programs and services.

Nova Scotia’s post-secondary sector is crucial to supporting public health and the economy in the near and long term, and to helping students prepare for a rapidly changing future. Education remains the engine of innovation and ingenuity fuelling our province’s growth and success. It is vital that governments provide the necessary supports to maintain this sector.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to your response,

Sincerely,

[your name will go here]

[your email address will go here] [your location will go here]

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