Parties present post-secondary platforms
The Progressive Conservative Party, behind wildly-popular leader Danny Williams, seems poised to recapture the provincial legislature in the general election Oct. 9. Recent polls put the party well ahead of the competition: the latest results by Corporate Research Associates says it has the support of 76 per cent of decided voters.
If that lead holds, the election of the Tories will have a big impact on Memorial University, according to the party’s recently-released policy manual.
The PC Party Blueprint makes several statements about the future of post-secondary education (PSE).
The Blueprint says a PC government will extend the tuition freeze for Memorial University of Newfoundland and provide up-front needs-based grants to students and lower interest on student loans to prime.
The PCs also say they will work with the Board of Regents to implement the recommendation of the independent study on the governance structure of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College and grant the college full university status with a separate executive, senate and budget while maintaining a common Board of Regents. To prepare for this, government will ask Grenfell to prepare a five-year strategic plan to outline its goals and objectives under its new governance structure.
The platform also says a PC government will provide for new student residences at Memorial University’s St. John’s and Grenfell campuses, buildings that were accounted for in the last provincial budget.
Meanwhile, the Liberal Party has also released its policy platform which contains several dramatic policy initiatives regarding postsecondary education, including a 25 per cent tuition reduction. The Liberals are also promising an improved grant system, an expansion of the School of Medicine and will study expanding university course offerings in various regions of the province.
For students, the Liberals will offer tax cuts on the first $100,000 of salary earned for graduates of a recognized minimum two-year post-secondary program and will study interest-free student loans.
The NDP did not respond to a Gazette request for its PSE policy platform. When released, an analysis of that party’s platform will appear on today.mun.ca.