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November 19, 2012
For immediate release

Premier announces increase to George Coles Bursary

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The Government of Prince Edward Island is building on its commitment to make post-secondary education more accessible and affordable, says Honourable Premier Robert Ghiz.

“It is my pleasure to fulfill a commitment made in the Spring 2012 Speech from the Throne that sees a 10 per cent increase to the George Coles Bursary,” said Premier Ghiz. “The Government of Prince Edward Island prides itself on investments in education and will continue to ensure high-quality education is accessible and affordable. Building a trained and educated workforce is essential to meeting the needs of our economic reality.”

The provincial government introduced the George Coles Bursary in 2008 to encourage students to attend post-secondary education in Prince Edward Island, while ensuring Prince Edward Island offers competitive and appealing post-secondary options. The George Coles Bursary is offered to first-time, first-year student residents of Prince Edward Island enrolled in full-time studies at University of P.E.I., Holland College, Collège Acadie Î.-P.-É., or the Maritime Christian College who do not have any previous post-secondary education. Students are now eligible for up to $2,200, depending on the tuition level.

The announcement was made to Grade 12 students at Charlottetown Rural High School students on Monday. Minister responsible for post-secondary education Allen Roach spoke at the event, encouraging students to consider Prince Edward Island as their post-secondary destination.

“An increase to the George Coles Bursary is another example of government’s commitment to ensuring high-quality, post-secondary education is accessible here in Prince Edward Island,” said Minister Roach. “It is important that we offer financial incentives to encourage students to attend post-secondary here in Prince Edward Island. Studies show a strong correlation between where students study and where they work post graduation, and we want to keep these bright, skilled students here in our province.”

The George Coles Bursary is one of many financial incentives offered by the Government of Prince Edward Island to Island students attending university or college in Prince Edward Island. Other incentives include the Island Student Award, the Island Skills Award, the George Coles Graduation Scholarship and interest-free student loans.

Students will see the George Coles Bursary increase take affect immediately. The bursary will be deposited directly into student’s accounts in January 2013.

For more information on available bursaries and awards, visit

BACKGROUNDER -- Post-secondary Education

• Government is making high quality education affordable for two main reasons:

- to help all students participate and succeed in a global, knowledge-based society

- to build an educated workforce that will enable PEI to compete in the new economy

• When choosing a program, students are asked to consider Prince Edward Island first because of its excellent programs, low tuition rates and good financial assistance programs


• Post-secondary programs in PEI are as good or better than they are anywhere in Canada.

- UPEI consistently ranks high by national standards

- Holland College offers world class programs as well as a wide range of diploma and degree programs that prepare students for the workforce

- College Acadie offers increased opportunities to French language students who wish to pursue their studies in Prince Edward Island


• UPEI has some of the most competitive tuition rates in the country. MPHEC announced in October 2012 that UPEI has:

- the lowest tuition fees in the Maritimes for undergraduate science programs

- the lowest tuition fees for international students

- the second lowest fees for undergraduate arts programs

- Maritime fees in 2012-2013 range from $4,950 to $7,250. At UPEI they are $5,150.


• In the past five years, enrolment has grown significantly at UPEI and Holland College, despite the fact that it is declining in other provinces.

• Enrolment is growing because of high quality programming, as well as new government supports.

• Total enrolment at UPEI grew from 4,008 in 2007 to 4,415 in 2011, an increase of 10%.

• In 2011 Holland College reported its largest ever first-year intake.

George Coles Bursary

• The George Coles Bursary, introduced in 2008, automatically provides UPEI undergraduate students with up to $5,200 in awards and bursaries.

• Holland College students can receive up to $4,200 for a two-year program depending on tuition.

• The $2,000 George Coles Graduation Scholarship is awarded to fourth year students who are meeting graduation requirements.

• In the past five years, the provincial government provided over $15 million in bursaries to 15,000 students.

Student debt reduction

• Prince Edward Island’s student debt reduction programs are among the best in the country.

- Eligible students receive up to $2,000 per year in debt reduction grants based on the length of their program.

- Beginning this year, students will not have to pay interest on the provincial portion of their student loans. The savings on the average student loan in the first year of repayment will be approximately $1,000. The cost to government is $500,000 annually.

- In the past five years, the provincial government provided $8 million in student debt reduction grants to 2,300 students.

Investments in early learning, primary and secondary education

• There is a high correlation between student achievement and participation in post-secondary learning.

• New investments in early learning and K-12 are preparing Island students for even greater success in higher learning.

• Through investments in early learning curriculum, staff training and early years centres, all Island children are now on a more level playing field when it comes to achieving in school and going on to higher learning.

• Literacy and numeracy rates are rising in the early grades as more supports are introduced.

• A new Grade 11 math assessment will help to direct resources, inform instruction and increase achievement in intermediate and high school math.

• New high school trades training programs are helping students get on an earlier career path to rewarding careers in the trades.

Media Contact: Amber Caseley
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