By Sheroog Kubur, December 8 2022—
On December 7, the University of Calgary held a town hall meeting regarding tuition fees for students to offer feedback for the revised tuition fee proposal for the 2023-24 academic year. The meeting was hosted by Dr. Penny Werthner with Ron Kim and Dr. Robin Yates. It held a question-and-answer session for students to give feedback and was live-streamed for those unable to attend in person.
The proposal includes up to a 5.5 per cent increase in tuition fees for domestic undergraduate students and two per cent for graduate students. International undergraduate and graduate students may see up to a 10 per cent increase.
The revised proposal included an increase in student consultation, a reduction in the nursing student tuition increase and in the Dinos Athletics and Active Living fees.
Werthner mentioned the concern for a lack of consultation as reasoning for holding a town hall. Meetings have been conducted with the Students’ Union (SU), the Graduate Students Association (GSA) and the Tuition and Fees Consultation Committee (TFCC) and plan to present this information to the upcoming student legislative committee meeting alongside meeting with the U of C Board of Governors and GSA.
“It is a process that we’ve delayed a little bit to encourage more consultation, but at some point, we need to make some final decisions with TCFF and the Board of Governors,” Werthner said.
Kim offered context for the increases, citing decreased provincial funding as one of the primary reasons for the proposed increases. He also cited the need for Alberta’s post-secondary tuition feeds to meet the national median as reasoning.
“[The government of Alberta] embarked on a program of rebalancing how much they fund the University of Calgary and other post-secondary institutions,” Kim said. “They felt it was necessary to do that and they imposed that on us.”
During the question and answer period, students raised concerns about how these increases will impact graduate students in particular. Joshua Lockett-Harris, the vice-chair outreach of the Graduate Students Labour Union, raised concerns about how teaching assistants who are graduate students will be unable to keep up with the cost of living because of the proposed increases.
Kiera Gunn, the labour chair for graduate students, raised concerns about how the increases will be reflected in the services provided to students as she observed a decline in the accessibility of on-campus recreational services.
Brandon Eby, the co-president of the Sociology and Law and Society Association, commented on behalf of undergraduate students regarding how students are unable to “solve a systemic issue with individual action.”
The town hall was part of efforts to further consult the student body regarding the tuition fee proposal. More information about the consultation can be found online.