POLITICS

New Brunswick universities to report to government how they spend

10/30/2013 02:45 EDT | Updated 12/30/2013 05:12 EST
FREDERICTON - Universities in New Brunswick will receive a two per cent funding increase in each of the next two years but they are being asked to report to the provincial government how they spend that money.

"We want to enhance the dialogue of collaboration to make sure that we can get a sense of where universities are going with their funding," Jody Carr, the province's post-secondary education minister, told a news conference in Fredericton.

But Carr said he did not know whether the government would withhold funding before universities submit their plans on how to spend it.

Mount Allison University president Robert Campbell said he didn't see a problem with the government's request.

"This is the new reality of accountable, transparent public institutions," Campbell said. "We've happily presented to the government all sorts of our plans and activities."

St. Thomas University president Dawn Russell also said she didn't think it would be an issue.

"I don't expect them to be overly interventionist, but I think they will ask us to show that we've achieved savings and we're not looking to solve all our problems through increased funding," she said.

Russell said universities in the province have been looking to find ways to save money and work together to ensure that their funding is spent wisely.

The government also announced Wednesday that tuition fee increases will be capped at three per cent annually for the next three years.

St. Thomas University is the exception to the rule because its tuition fees are lower than those charged by other universities in the province.

That school will be allowed to increase tuition fees by up to three per cent plus $170 each year for the next four years.