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Maritime provinces among most expensive for higher education

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As another academic year winds down for Maritime university students, many are watching their educational debt grow.

“My yearly tuition right now is $12,000,” says Mbali Dlamini, a Saint Mary’s University student from Toronto.

Debt can be even higher for international students as some are seeing yearly tuition increases of three-to-five per cent.

”At the time I started, my tuition was $25,000, around $27,000 per year and now it has been hiked up to $35,000,” says Dalhousie University engineering student Bhubindr Singh Sidhu. “I’ve spent more than $90,000, around $100,000 on three years of education and engineering, it’s getting expensive, more and more expensive.”

A student reads outside University of King's College. (Source: Jonathan MacInnis/CTV News Atlantic)

A Stats Canada study shows the most expensive provinces in the country to pursue higher education are in the Maritimes.

Prince Edward Island leads the way with students carrying $43,000 worth of debt upon graduation. Nova Scotia is second at just over $39,000. New Brunswick is fifth.

“We’re looking at a generation who is hugely burdened by this debt,” says Aideen Reynolds, Nova Scotia chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students. “For those of us who have been paying attention to higher education in Nova Scotia, this is not at all surprising. We’ve been at the highest tuition in the country or near the highest tuition in the country for like six years.”

She says educational costs are forcing some to make difficult decisions.

“Students are dropping out and not coming back, students are going part time because they can’t afford to be full-time,” she says.

Complicating matters even further is the current state of the job market.

“Everyone expects that we get good job opportunities after we are done with our studies but right now the economic situation and the job market is really down,” says Dalhousie student Daksh Singh.

The report also shows college tuition in Nova Scotia is the third highest in Canada, trailing only Alberta and Saskatchewan.

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