Nova Scotia university students are the only ones in Canada paying less for tuition this year, as the province honours its commitment to lower tuition to the national average. The average undergraduate tuition at Nova Scotia universities dropped 2.9 per cent this year. It is the only province to register a decline in tuition, according to a Statistics Canada report released today, Oct. 9. The national average increased 3.6 per cent. StatsCan puts Nova Scotia’s average undergraduate tuition this year at $5,932, a decrease of $178 from the previous year. The Canadian average is $4,724. The gap between Nova Scotia’s average undergraduate tuition and the Canadian average has dropped to $1,208 from $1,552 in 2007-08. StatsCan’s figure is an enrolment-weighted average of the tuition costs for all programs. The average tuition paid this year by a Nova Scotia student earning an arts degree is $5,125, down from $5,386 last year. Nova Scotia’s average graduate tuition is $7,242, a 1.6 per cent decline from last year. The Canadian average rose 3.3 per cent to $5,777. “While other provinces are raising or freezing tuition, Nova Scotia students are seeing a tuition reduction, and our students will continue to pay less tuition each year until we are at the national average,” said Education Minister Karen Casey. “We are continuing to make a university education more affordable for more Nova Scotians, not just with tuition reductions but with a host of assistance programs to help students get a post-secondary education.” “It is encouraging to see that we are the only province that has reduced tuition over the last year. However, tuition for Nova Scotia students are still high and we will continue with our commitment to bring those costs to the national average by 2010-11.” Earlier this year, Ms. Casey and the province’s 11 university presidents signed a three-year funding agreement that froze tuition fees for all students and will increase operating funding by $30 million in each year of the agreement. Ms. Casey also announced a bursary for Nova Scotia students. Canadian students from outside Nova Scotia and international students are benefitting from the tuition freeze. More than 42,000 students attend Nova Scotia’s universities.