Fredericton — In a move called “historic” by the premier himself, the Liberal government has unveiled a groundbreaking plan to ease the financial burden put on students and graduates of post-secondary education in the province. The Government of New Brunswick will, as of spring 2017, be covering the entire cost of graduates’ flight to a more prosperous place, so long as those grads are making under $60k per year.
“This will give university students the incentive to work hard and complete their degrees,” said Premier Gallant at a press conference at STU this morning. “If they can scrounge the money to finance their own education, we promise them they can leave the very moment they graduate. They won’t be stuck here working a crappy call centre job or collecting E.I. And while students are here living off their loans, they’ll feel rich, so will spend lots of money and boost the local economy.”
Critics are lauding the move as the most realistic initiative ever proposed by Gallant’s Liberals.
“Given our staggering unemployment rate, it’s nice to see the government for once not burying their heads in the sand about the economic realities faced by grads,” said UNB science graduate Daniel Murdoch, who has been unemployed since he graduated last spring and whose E.I. is about to run out. “I asked my family for birthday money to pay for my ticket outta N.B., but it looks like if I can wait till 2017, I’ll be set. Thanks, Brian!”
The crowd raised several questions, which the premier was happy to field.
“What about grads making more than $60k a year?” asked STU president Dawn Russell, before the crowd in attendance burst into hearty laughter.
“Ha-ha… seriously, though, do you know any grads making what they’re worth in this province?” said the premier when the laughter eventually died down. “I mean, other than you and I. No, what we need is to help New Brunswick’s young people to pay off their loans and find good jobs, and the only way that’ll happen is if they get out of here. Alberta, the States, Europe — wherever — they can easily make a living in other places. And they’re likely to bring some of that money back to the province when they get homesick enough.”
New Brunswickers who graduated years ago and are still saddled with student debt are skeptical of the premier’s plan.
“What about me? I made the mistake of getting married, building a house and having kids here,” said Keswick man George Heely-Lyons. “I thought that, with my education, I’d eventually make a decent living and pay off my loans. Is the government willing to pay for my entire family to leave New Brunswick? Too little too late, if you ask me.”
The ones happiest about the plan? Future and current students.
“The government is being surprisingly practical about things; instead of just making it easier to get financial assistance for school, or trying to provide jobs afterward, they’re helping us G.T.F.O.,” said Toronto native Emily Bolton, 18. “I’m coming to N.B. for the cheap education, then going back to Ontario for free! Amazing.”
Gallant plans to spend the following months holed up in his office checking for the best travel prices on Expedia, Cheap Flights, and KAYAK.
“I’m determined to save taxpayers’ money,” he said sombrely, “and that means shopping around for the very best flight deals out of here.”