Marc-André Desjardins, a University of Moncton law graduate, says he’s sought answers from the province about why its bursary program for students from low-income families excludes medical and law students. (Marc-André Desjardins) A University of Moncton graduate says he’s frustrated after two years seeking answers from the provincial government about why law and medical students can’t access a financial assistance program for low-income families.
Marc-André Desjardins says he’s filed a complaint with the New Brunswick Ombud’s Office after trying to understand why students in professional schools aren’t eligible for assistance under the province’s tuition relief for the middle class program or its free tuition program.
"They don’t have an answer," Desjardins said. "I’m just trying to get a straight answer out of them."
Desjardins, who graduated this year, applied for assistance and was denied in 2016, when it was known as the tuition access bursary.
He now owes about $50,000 after he took out a line of credit to complete his studies, an amount he expects will take a decade to pay off.
He’s living with his family in the Grand Falls area to save money while articling, one of the next steps to becoming a lawyer. Student group agrees
Emily Blue, executive director of the New Brunswick Student Alliance, said the group representing students across the province has called on the government to allow law students to qualify.
"However, that doesn’t seem like something they’re interested in at this time," she said.
Desjardins provided CBC News with copies of emails and letters with various provincial officials, including a response from Premier Brian Gallant, to his requests to understand the exclusion of law students.Earlier this month, Desjardins sent the same documents to the ombud, an office mandated to examine complaints against the provincial government.The ombud’s office declined to comment, citing a policy of not confirming or denying complaints it has received. No interview provided Roger Melanson, minister of post-secondary education, training and labour, would not be interviewed either. An interview was not provided.A written statement attributed to Melanson did not address why law and medical students aren’t included in the program.The programs are meant to cover […]