To discourage educated New Brunswickers from leaving the province in search of work, Premier Bernard Lord is offering post-secondary students up to $10,000 in income tax rebates.
Students enrolled in post-secondary studies as of Jan. 1, 2005, can apply to have 50 per cent of their tuition rebated against their provincial income tax. They can claim up to $2,000 a year to a maximum of $10,000.
Those who are eligible can claim the rebate any time for 20 years after the first-year credit is earned.
The first rebates can be claimed in the 2006 tax year. About 28,000 students are expected to benefit from the program in its first year at a cost of $11 million.
In announcing what he calls “a groundbreaking, national first for Canada,” Lord said the program will have several effects.
“This will encourage more people to pursue education. This will make New Brunswick the go-to province for post-secondary education and the stay-in province for those who do have post-secondary education.”
The New Brunswick Tuition Tax Cash Back program is part of learning agenda called Quality Post-Secondary Opportunities.
It’s aimed at “improving the quality, accessibility, affordability and accountability of the post-secondary sector in New Brunswick,” according to the government’s statement.
Lord’s Progressive Conservative government has set out 10-year targets to support this goal. The targets are:
•New Brunswick's post-secondary participation rates will be among the top three in Canada;
•New Brunswick will rank among the top five provinces in Canada in the proportion of its residents with post-secondary credentials;
•New Brunswick will lead Canada in the rate of increases of masters and doctorate enrolments;
•New Brunswick will join the top four provinces in Canada in research and development expenditures per capita;
•New Brunswick post-secondary institutions will increase their share of federal research awards equivalent to the province’s share of the Canadian population; and
•New Brunswick will increase its enrolment of international students in its post-secondary institutions to at least 10 per cent of the student population.