By Julieanne Acosta, December 17 2021—
On Dec. 10, the Board of Governors voted to approve another tuition increase for University of Calgary students.
In an interview with the Gauntlet, Students’ Union (SU) President Nicole Schmidt responded to the vote and expressed her concerns.
“These tuition increases are going to have an impact on University of Calgary students and I definitely think that they’re going to be detrimental to students,” said Schmidt.
This year, students at the University of Calgary are looking at a seven per cent increase for all programs, with the exception of nursing and education, which will be increasing by 10 per cent. These tuition increases will come into effect for the Fall 2022 semester.
“We’re very disappointed but unfortunately, not surprised that the U of C has decided to go down this route for the third year in a row,” said Schmidt. “Unfortunately, a lot of our concerns and student concerns seem to have fallen on deaf ears, as this didn’t pass at the board level on Friday.”
Schmidt said there was no extensive explanation behind why the tuition increase was needed again. However, she mentioned that balancing cost was a part of the reasoning behind the proposed increase.
“The point that was brought up several times was the idea of balancing costs and making sure that all of the expenses incurred by the university were covered. We were also given a very general breakdown of where this money would be going. Unfortunately, the university’s use of reasoning of cost recovery as the main reason behind why these increases are needed,” said Schmidt. “This will affect all incoming students as well as current students.”
In comparison to the past two years, the increase is not any different from prior years. Schmidt explained that the increase is still on par with respect to the past two years.
“When the United Conservative Party came into power, they removed the tuition freeze that had been in the province for several years. They allowed post-secondary institutions to increase tuition by up to a seven per cent average across all programs,” said Schmidt. “The University of Calgary has hit that seven per cent average for all undergraduate programs. So this year is pretty consistent with what we’ve seen in the past.”
Schmidt provided the ways in which the SU has attempted to reconcile these increases with their advocacy over time. Nonetheless, the tuition increase will still continue for the 2022-23 school year.
“The SU has had several meetings with the administration about our concerns around the impact that these tuition increases are going to have on students. With these tuition increases, the University of Calgary is also looking at increasing several fees, including the student services fee and the athletic fee,” said Schmidt.
“We were able to successfully lobby for a decrease in the amount of money that the University of Calgary wanted to increase the student services fee by originally, they wanted to increase by 10 per cent and the SU was able to get that down to seven per cent. Overall, we’ve done a lot of advocacy, both in committees and one on one with administration members.”
Schmidt explained that she is still working towards bettering students’ experience at the U of C and working with the administration to help students.
“Going forward, we’ve asked for a clear commitment from the U of C that they aren’t lobbying to remove the tuition cap with the Government of Alberta. I’ve requested of both President Ed McCauley and Provost Teri Balser, is that they commit to tying further tuition increases in the future to CPI [Consumer Price Index], which would create a more predictable and more reasonable increases for students, and they’ll be able to plan better for the cost of their undergraduate degree,” said Schmidt.
Previous Board of Governors meeting minutes can be found on the U of C website.