Newfoundland and Labrador will soon take the crown as the cheapest place to study, despite a deficit budget that includes job cuts and that will cause provincial net debt to rise by $1-billion to $8.5-billion by March 2013.
Tuesday’s budget includes $44 million for Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic to prevent them from raising tuition fees, which averaged $2,649 in the fall of 2011.
The province will soon have the lowest fees in Canada. Nationwide, university fees averaged $5,366 in 2011, according to Statistics Canada.
Tuition will rise in most provinces in 2012, including Quebec where fees will increase from $2,516 (currently the lowest in Canada) to nearly $3,800 by 2017. Rising tuition in Quebec has caused many students to boycott classes and join protests, like one on Wednesday that led to 85 arrests.
Newfoundland’s deficit has resulted from less offshore oil money and declining federal transfers.
The province is famous for low tuition, which attracts thousands of students from other provinces.