Photo by Rachneet Randhawa

Hikes and strikes: Details on UCalgary’s decision to approve raised tuition and fees

By Rachneet Randhawa, with files from Gayathri Peringod and Nikayla Goddard, updated January 13 2020 —

University of Calgary students, both undergraduate and graduate, are all the more exasperated with the Board of Governors officially approving raising tuition and fee proposals for the upcoming 2020–2021 school year. 

Students returning for the 2020–2021 school year can expect an additional $316 in total fees. All undergraduate programs for new students will increase by seven per cent, while the hike for students continuing previous studies is capped at five per cent. International students and engineering students face a concurrent ten per cent increase. 

Student services fees clock in at a seven per cent increase or $240.75 per semester. Miscellaneous fees such as athletics and campus recreation are set around five per cent and 4.4 per cent, respectively. Meal plans and eating at various vendors around campus will become less appetizing as prices will increase for pay-per-meal plans and decrease for all-you-care-to-eat plans. For housing, residence rates will increase by two per cent overall, and for the daily commuters parking permits purchased by students will increase by two per cent and ten per cent for staff. 

Left unscathed by budget cuts will be mental health funding. Additionally, the U of C provost Dru Marshall has claimed that the university will inject 15 per cent of the income from the extra revenue of the tuition and fee increases into financial aid such as bursaries for students. 

The Board of Governors meeting where this decision took place was held on Jan. 10 from 9 a.m. to around noon and was accompanied by over fifty student protestors. Student protesters donned posters with quotes and bold statements of their right to an affordable education and slogans thrown at the UCP leader Jason Kenney and government officials. The protesters were accompanied by a smattering of administrative staff and Calgary media outlets interviewing and recording student accounts. Initially, the group of student protestors met in the Administrative building and marched in and around Mac Hall demanding the freezing of tuition increases, or at the very least the reduction of cuts. They followed scripted chants including “There ain’t no power like the power of the students” and “The power of the students won’t stop.” 

Only five of the 21 board members voted against the tuition increases this past Friday. 

Following the results of the vote, the Students’ Union released the following statement: 

“Going into today’s Board of Governors meeting, the SU did not feel that the university engaged in meaningful consultation with students. For this reason, we could not support the university’s proposals to increase tuition and fees.”

“Despite months of meetings with the university, the SU was not provided with details of tuition and fee proposals that could be discussed publicly with students. While most information on tuition and fees was shared at board committees in December, the full scope of all tuition and fee proposals was not known publicly until board documents were released in January. As such, SLC felt that students could not make an informed decision on the proposed tuition and fee increases.

“Sadly, the Board of Governors decided to adopt the tuition and fee proposals, significantly increasing the cost of getting an education at the University of Calgary. For some students, this may mean that they will not be able to continue or finish their degrees. The university has promised that 15 per cent of new tuition revenue will go towards student support and that mental health funding will be untouched. Given these promises, we hope that any students experiencing financial strain will be supported and are able to complete their studies. Students are the reason that the university exists. Their access to education and their wellbeing should be the primary considerations when making difficult budget decisions.”

Photo by Rachneet Randhawa

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