The province’s NDP say they will double the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship, overhaul provincial loans and regulate tuition if elected.
Party leader Cam Broten made the announcement Wednesday while seated with several student government representatives from the University of Saskatchewan.
“We need to provide much more assistance to students on the front end, while they are in their programs,” Broten said.
The NDP’s plan includes raising the provincial scholarship to $1,000 starting in the second term of the 2016-17 academic year, converting all government loans to grants in 2017, immediately eliminating interest on current loans to students and regulating tuition fees.
Saskatchewan had the second-highest tuition rates behind Ontario this year, according to Statistics Canada data.
The party expects the scholarship and grant changes will cost $111.6 million over four years. Broten said his party would pay for the promise through finding government efficiency and cutting anything his party considers wasteful spending on the part of the current government.
“It’s those types of expenditures, those ongoing savings when you eliminate the gravy planes, that you can direct and steer into the things that actually matter,” Broten said.
The NDP education announcement follows the Sask. Party’s pledge on Monday to allow students to access up to $10,000 of their Graduate Retention Program (GRC) tax benefit in one lump sum for a down payment on their first home. Party leader Brad Wall also promised to increase the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship to $750 once Saskatchewan’s finances improve.