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Tuition increases for engineering, law and MBA program on the table

By Chris Adams, October 2 2014 —

The University of Calgary will propose three market modifiers valued at $170 per course in engineering, $250 per course in law and $300 per course in the Masters of Business Administration program (MBA).

The government of Alberta sent out the call for universities to submit proposals for market modifiers, increases in tuition for faculties with a perceived higher earning potential, this summer. Engineering and MBA students learned the details of their faculty’s proposals around three weeks before the provincial government’s Oct. 15 deadline for proposal submissions.

The faculty of engineering wants to bring tuition on par with the University of Alberta’s engineering program.

Engineering dean William Roseheart notified engineering students of the proposed increase in an email sent on Tuesday, Sept. 23. Seventy per cent of the increase will go to the faculty and 30 per cent will go to administration.

Twenty per cent of total revenue market modifier revenue will go to scholarships and bursaries.

According to Roseheart’s email, a total of $3.85 million per year will be raised from the faculty of engineering’s modifier.

Engineering Students’ Society (ESS) survey results on market modifiers were published Wednesday, Oct. 1. Eighty-three per cent of respondents said they don’t support the market modifier proposal.

Twenty-three per cent of engineering students responded to the survey.

ESS waited until they got the survey results to declare support or opposition to the proposal. ESS president Christine Ochitwa said they now officially oppose the market modifier.

Fifty-two per cent of respondents said they would have enroled in a different program if tuition in engineering had been higher when they applied.

Both Students’ Union engineering representatives and Ochitwa met with Roseheart last week to discuss the modifier.

Both sides acknowledged that student groups and faculty have opposing views on the modifier. Ochitwa said that instead of debating whether or not a modifier should be adopted, they discussed how the faculty should spend the revenue if the proposal is accepted.

Roseheart said the faculty will submit the proposal regardless of student opinion at an engineering town hall held Friday, Sept. 26

Ochitwa said she’s not happy with the consultation process.

“It’s kind of distressing when you know the decision has already been made and you’re just figuring out how your fate’s being allocated,” Ochitwa said.

SU vice-president external Levi Nilson questioned the necessity of consultation if the faculty of engineering will submit the proposal no matter what.

“That will have a huge effect on how engineering students interact with their faculty and definitely how we interact with administration,” Nilson said.

SU president Jarett Henry said increasing tuition will reduce access to the program.

“Tuition around the country shouldn’t be a game of leap frog. If we are able to run a great program with a lower tuition than another institution, that should be a point of pride, not a game of catch up,” Henry said.

Faculty of business dean Jim Dewald consulted with both the Masters of Business Administration Students’ Association and the Graduate Students’ Association. He hosted two town halls and said MBA students in attendance largely supported the modifier.

Dewald said the proposed $300 per course increase will help the faculty expand its internship program.

“We’ve been experimenting with this for a year. The full-time MBA students, it gives them an opportunity through the summer to put their skills to work. Now we need the money to really make it a big part of the program. That would be a huge loss if we weren’t able to do that,” Dewald said.

Faculty of law dean Ian Holloway unveiled his faculty’s proposal at a town hall Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Holloway said that if the Society of Law Students (SLS) doesn’t support the modifier, he won’t propose it. However, SLS submitted a letter of approval in support of the modifier to Holloway Wednesday, Oct. 1

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