New Brunswick’s Tuition Access Bursary subsidizes university or college tuition for the children of low-income households. Improving education is laudable, but this program may not achieve its goals.

There is little relationship between tuition rates and enrollment. Low-income participation has been lowest in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador, where tuition is least-expensive. Meanwhile, high-tuition Ontario and Nova Scotia have the best enrollment.

Other factors are more important, such as high school grades and whether one’s parents attended university.

Government assistance should favour exceptional grades. It could also focus on trades and skills training to address labour demands. Such policies could boost the effectiveness of higher education, without breaking the bank.