More tuition assistance is on the way for middle-income post-secondary students in New Brunswick.

The new, non-repayable bursary program is for students coming from families with an annual income of $60,000 or more. Tuition relief would be based on the size of a family, to a maximum of seven children, as well as the family’s income.

The Tuition Relief for the Middle Class Program is meant to cover those who don’t qualify for the free tuition program that New Brunswick announced last summer. Government says that between the two programs, 70% of the province’s students are covered.

Unlike the province’s Tuition Assistance Rebate Program, which is continuing, no student would see their full tuition covered under the new program.

“If you’re from a family size of three, with a family income of $65,000, an eligible student with tuition of $6,200, we use that as a pure example - they will have 89% of tuition costs covered,” explains Premier Brian Gallant on Thursday.

Only New Brunswick students attending publicly funded New Brunswick post-secondary institutions are eligible for the new program, much like the so-called free tuition program. Private schools have since launched legal action, asking to be included in that program.

“We appreciate everything the private institutions do, but we want to make sure that were helping the public universities and colleges with some of the enrollment challenges that they face and will face in the future,” says Gallant.

About 5,000 students received free tuition under the ‘TAB’ program, for students with a family income of under $60,000. About 1,300 students are eligible for the new program.

“Which is exactly what we need to meet the needs to increase accessibility and affordability of post-secondary education,” says Robert Burroughs of the N.B. Student Alliance.

The provincial government is budgeting up to $3 million for the new program, which will begin in the fall.

The government also announced it will now begin providing health care coverage to international students at public post-secondary institutions in New Brunswick, in a bid to boost international enrollment.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore.