N.B. budget to hike funding for post-secondary education, students

The New Brunswick government is increasing funding for student aid and community college grants by just over five per cent in a provincial budget to be tabled Tuesday.

A government source with knowledge of the budget to be presented by Finance Minister Cathy Rogers says the 5.4 per cent hike includes higher grants to community colleges, and funding for "research and strategic initiatives."

The source said it will also mean a five per cent increase in the funds available for student financial assistance.

The hike takes funding for those areas from almost $162 million last year to $170.3 million in the upcoming budget – the Liberals' third.

The province recently released a third quarter update on finances saying the projected deficit for 2016-17 will come in at $331 million, if the contingency fund is included.

Net debt in the province was forecast to hit $13.4 billion by the end of March 2017 – nearly $18,000 for every man, woman and child.