Tuition hikes and debt are reality

By Sarah Deveau

I am embarrassed to be a U of C student. I am disappointed in my fellow students and the Students’ Union.

Over the past few weeks, I have seen a misguided, doomed campaign against tuition increases. I’ve seen masses of ignorant students shout at Rob South for not making a fool of himself by supporting a juvenile and useless motion. I’ve heard supposedly rational, educated students swear at the Board of Governors and visiting government officials.

The Government of Alberta has legislated that students should pay 30 per cent of the cost of their own education. The BoG says we’re at about 28 per cent. The SU says they calculate the cost incorrectly, that students pay almost 50 per cent. Since when is expecting students to pay only 50 per cent of the cost of their education unfair?

Despite what the SU says, most students are not starving. Yes, some students work during the school year to pay the bills. I do, to the tune of 30-plus hours a week while going to school full time. You do what you have to do. You don’t scream at government officials because you want something for nothing.

Tuition will increase until it reaches the cap. But I agree that students shouldn’t have to give up all hope of an education because they absolutely cannot afford it. The SU should spend their time and money lobbying the government to create better bursaries and scholarships for these students that truly need assistance. In reference to a recent letter to the editor, career students who do numerous undergrad and masters degrees instead of getting a job at some point to pay for these degrees are not "needy" students.

My letter will likely incite a backlash of responses from students, but I’m a student in debt because of tuition, and willing to accept that debt as a necessary part of obtaining a respected degree. I wanted my voice heard. I believe in helping the students that really need it, not making things easy for the students that don’t. And with the focus only on tuition increases, the students that really need the assistance are not getting it. Ask any student using the food bank if the last few years of protests and rallies has actually helped their situation at all. It hasn’t. And that’s the real issue.

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