Middle-income earners willing to pay more tax to lower tuition, poll suggests

Haley Ryan, Metro Halifax
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HALIFAX - More middle-income Nova Scotians are concerned with rising tuition costs than ever before, according to a new poll from the Nova Scotia Post-Secondary Education Coalition.

The results show nearly 71 per cent of people who make between $40,000 and $70,000 a year would pay higher taxes if they knew it would go towards making local universities or colleges more affordable.

“It’s no longer an issue of how we ensure that low-income Nova Scotians can attend university,” said David Etherington of the Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia on Tuesday.

Etherington said this is the first year the poll has shown middle-income residents as the most supportive of a tax hike, but that’s not surprising.

He said a recent report shows tuition rising above the $6,000 mark will “start pushing middle-income students out of university.”

The poll also shows 29 per cent of Nova Scotians say they’ve had someone in their family choose not to attend college or university in the last year because they couldn’t shoulder the debt.

More Nova Scotians were concerned about post-secondary education and health care at 65 per cent, than taxation (64 per cent) or crime (39 per cent).

The coalition is hoping these numbers prove to the new Liberal government that the majority of Nova Scotians support post-secondary education, and plan to meet with Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan about a 15 per cent tuition decrease.

Dr. Chris Ferns, president of the Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers, said the opportunities of a free or very low-cost education compared with what students encounter nowadays is “staggering.”

“It’s one of the things my generation should be most ashamed of, that we had access to affordable education and we’re not providing it for our children,” Ferns said.

The coalition says the poll took place from Dec. 9 to 16 and has a margin of error of plus or minus three per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Organizations: Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia, Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers

Geographic location: Nova Scotians

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Recent comments

  • Dave
    February 05, 2014 - 18:15

    I started a education fund for my child when she was born. I have put $100 a month away for the last 15 years. That gives her $40000 to go to school. I have done my part for my child, maybe the other parents should do the same thing!!! I do not even make $40000 per year. what is their excuse!!!

  • anon
    February 05, 2014 - 12:26

    where do we the PEOPLE vote on these issues ???? these polls cant be found anywhere on the net ... would someone post a link please to prove me wrong ??? tks ....

  • Fuzzy Bear
    February 05, 2014 - 10:06

    ROFLMFAO - where in the (insert name of very hot place here) do they get these statistics. I know surveys can be manipulated by the question wording but this is just brainless!! Canadians cannot absorb any more taxes to support or make up for government waste. By definition of waste here are a few I can think of immediately: the senate, bilingualism, the CRTC. CBC, Air Canada and the countless myriad of bureaucratic governmental departments supporting patronage appointees to mention a few. Enough already!

  • Doug P
    February 05, 2014 - 08:16

    Nine out of ten politicians agree: higher taxes are a benefit to the taxpayer. Too funny, polls these days are well crafted propaganda at best.