A four-year memorandum of understanding between the province and Nova Scotia’s 10 universities will help maintain a quality, accessible and sustainable university sector.
The new memorandum of understanding, which is retroactive to April 1, 2015 and runs until March 31, 2019, provides improved supports for students around things like sexual violence prevention and disability services. It also provides guidelines around executive compensation and a clear process for reviewing auxiliary and ancillary fees with students and also outlines what the fees are for.
“Our universities are so important to our province, our students, and our economy,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. “This agreement will help keep our universities here, healthy, and provide our students with a quality education for years to come.”
A key element of the memorandum requires that outcome agreements be established with each university. They will include measurable sector and institution-specific outcomes around quality and sustainability. This will encourage and enable transparency, accountability and alignment with provincial priorities.
It also requires universities to have specific sexual violence policies, which must be renewed every three years through an inclusive process. Each university will also address sexual violence in its outcome agreement. A Sexual Violence Prevention Committee will be established to help address the issue on campus and make recommendations.
The memorandum also outlines:
— educational and quality measures, such as key performance indicators around program quality and student progress
— efforts to maintain and improve accessibility
— funding for universities, including a one per cent increase in the operating grant in each year of the memorandum
— transparency and accountability, requiring universities to provide financial reports and projections using a standardized template
— tuition policy, capping tuition increases at three per cent for Nova Scotia students after one-time market adjustments are made
— efforts to encourage collaboration to support Nova Scotia’s economic and social objectives.
Student groups provided extensive input on the improved supports for student success and ancillary and auxiliary fees sections of the memorandum.
To view a full copy go to http://novascotia.ca/lae/pubs/.