UNB students build a wall of debt

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Students at multiple universities gathered in protest of the recent changes to the free tuition program.

Patrick Hickey reads student testimonials in front of UNBSJ’s wall of debt. (Wolfgang Düchtel/The Baron)

The UNB-SRC recently gave students, who are impacted by the Conservative tuition cuts, the opportunity to take a stand. On September 26, they constructed a wall of student debt in the Quad, built with bricks that contained various student’s financial debt.

The wall displayed amounts ranging from $11,000 to a whopping $65,000.

In Saint John, there were few students to support those who have felt the impact of these changes. Anonymous testimonials were read by SRC President, Patrick Hickey.

“Tuition relief for the middle class allowed me to get through the first three years of my degree, only owing $11,000 total. After only one year without the program I will now owe almost $20,000 in student loans and student debt.” read Hickey.

This is the unfortunate circumstance that the recent tuition cuts have placed many students in, some even having to leave their post-secondary institution.

“Without student financial aid, I would never had been able to afford university,” stated another testimonial.

Wayne Long, MP for Saint John—Rothesay, was present to show his support to those affected.

Wayne Long address students, expressing his support for the cause. (Wolfgang Düchtel/The Baron)

“We’re there as a government to advocate for you, and to have your backs,” said Long, “I’m very disappointed by what’s going on provincially, it’s not fair, it’s not right, it’s prohibitive for so many students.”

Many believe that this choice will result in students being less inclined to staying in the province or to further their education. The consensus is that the New Brunswick economy will suffer in the coming years, experiencing brain drain caused by the lack of educational funding.

Even those who remain unaffected by these cuts today will feel it in the future, that’s why it’s incredibly crucial that everyone takes part in showing the provincial government that the solution is never cutting tuition funding.

If you would like to submit a testimonial regarding your experience with student debt, you can do so through the New Brunswick Student Alliance’s website.

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.