2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Letter to the Editor: Tuition increases

Your tuition is going up. Again. 

For the fourth consecutive year, the university is planning to increase your tuition. After three consecutive increases well above inflation, students are now being asked to pay another 5.5 per cent. International students are being asked to pay a fourth consecutive 10 per cent increase. For domestic students, including this latest proposed increase, your tuition has increased by about 33 per cent since 2019. The university is also increasing mandatory fees by 5.5 per cent. 

Here’s the thing — if the Students’ Union (SU) hadn’t sounded the alarm, the university would never have told you about the increases until after they were approved.

That’s because they originally scheduled the first of two Board of Governors votes on tuition before the university had come to the SU’s Student Legislative Council (SLC) to share tuition increase details. SLC meetings are public, meaning it’s only when the university comes to SLC that the SU can talk to students about tuition increase details.  

In short, the university’s original plan was to not even make students aware of tuition increases until the first approval vote had happened. The SU fought back, and the Board vote was moved to January. 

This delay gave us a window to bring your voices directly to administration — and did you ever respond! In the incredibly short timeline that the SU had to consult with students, nearly 2,800 students responded to faculty-level surveys put together by your SU Faculty Representatives. 

You told administration that you are at breaking point. You said you can’t afford to pay more. You don’t know where your tuition and fee money goes, but you haven’t seen improvement in education quality, class sizes, or the university’s old crumbling buildings. It makes sense: We’re paying much more; we deserve results for our money. 

We brought your voices and a series of demands to the university on December 13. The university’s response? That they will take it all under consideration. No additional commitments.  

But if you take action, you can change that.  

You are the reason this university runs. You have the right to be meaningfully and respectfully consulted by the university on tuition. As of now, the first tuition vote will occur on January 9 and the final vote on Jan. 20. That means that from the earliest time you could have been aware of increases, it will only be six weeks until the first vote. Nearly half of that time is during the exam period and Christmas break. This timeline is insulting and unacceptable. 

By comparison, the university is consulting on a new strategic plan. They plan for two rounds of consultation, which will occur over a period of six months. 

Six months. 

You get six weeks. Barely.

We encourage you to write to the university president at president@ucalgary.ca and the provost at provost@ucalgary.ca. Join us in requesting that they delay this tuition increase vote until March. Tell them you want to be consulted on tuition increases. Tell them how this latest round of increases will affect you. Tell the university to do their homework and complete their assignments.

The university is required, by provincial law, to provide comprehensive financial reporting on where your fee money goes. They haven’t done that at all in previous years. This year, they sent hastily put-together reporting that would, at best, get them a “D” in an introductory accounting course. 

They need to do better, and you deserve better.

—the University of Calgary Students’ Union

Letters to the Editor published in the Gauntlet‘s opinion section do not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet editorial board. The Gauntlet retains the right to edit submissions for brevity and clarity.


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