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SLC on proposal for exceptional tuition increases

By Enobong Ukpong, May 25 2021—

This week’s Students’ Legislative Council (SLC) meeting was held on May 18. The focus was on the SLC consultation on the exceptional tuition proposal.

Due to budget cuts in the post-secondary sector, the provincial government has allowed post-secondary tuitions to increase their tuition fees at more than the usual rate to offset those costs. 

The University of Calgary is proposing “exceptional” tuition increases that would allow the tuition to be raised beyond the tuition cap of seven per cent for domestic students, with no more than 10 per cent in any domestic program, saying the increased tuition would result in program quality improvements.

These changes will not affect current students, but only new students coming in for the Fall 2022 semester.

If approved by the province, tuition for the Cumming’s School of Medicine’s medical doctor program would go up by 15 per cent, and the Haskayne School of Business MBA program would go up by 25 per cent. The Schulich School of Engineering’s Bachelor of Science in Engineering program would increase by 32 per cent.

The tuition increase for international students is more dramatic, going up by 35 per cent for Master of Engineering students and 51 per cent for Bachelor of Engineering students. As international tuition fees are unregulated, these proposals only need to be approved by the Board of Governors.

These increases will be in addition to the ones approved in February.

The University of Calgary justified these tuition increases by stating that the funds would go towards increasing the quality of the programs, as well as the creation of new scholarships and bursaries.

“I understand, completely, that the percentage looks high,” said Bill Rosehart, Dean of the Schulich School of Engineering. “But if we wanted to do our comparisons to the University of Alberta, which is in the $39,500 range, even with this proposal, if it is approved, we would have a $6,000 difference on ten engineering courses a year.” He adds that he was recommended by the engineering community to match the tuition of the University of Alberta, but he felt like the current proposal was a reasonable compromise.

SLC members were overall skeptical of the tuition proposals. 

“How do we plan to attract international students to the faculties that are clearly being affected by these tuition increases when we’re bringing forward proposals that are directly disincentivizing students from coming here?” said Renzo Pereyra, vice president academic. “Even the addition of a few more bursaries won’t make up for the astronomical impact that this will have on students.”

The proposal will be edited with the SLC’s feedback and reviewed by the Finance and Property Committee on June 8.

Agendas, minutes and upcoming meetings for SLC can be found online.


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