By Jon Dunbar
The University of Alberta announced recently that they will seek a 3.7 per cent tuition increase for next year. This number was reduced after a 5.7 per cent increase was shot down by the Academic Planning Committee, a subcommittee of the General Faculties Council which is composed primarily of faculty.
At the Students’ Council meeting on Tuesday, U of A Students’ Union President Leslie Church called the defeat of the 5.7 per cent increase a "major victory." She thanked students for their support in fighting the tuition increase, and acknowledged the "big help from the provincial government."
The government recently announced they will grant $25 million to post-secondary education, approximately $5.5 million of which will go directly to the U of A.
"Even though it’s an election year, it’s great to see the government putting money into post-secondary education," said Church.
However, when the APC rejected the 5.7 per cent proposal in December, they did not yet know the government would be giving universities $25 million.
Shannon McEwan, Graduate Students’ Association President, told Council that she didn’t think the decreased proposal was enough.
"We’re happy that we’ve gone down from 5.7 to 3.7, but we’re hoping to go down all the way," she said.
The GSA was lobbying for a zero to two per cent increase.
According to the Scholarship Consultants of North America rankings, the U of A has the 22nd highest total cost in Canada, which takes into account tuition, room and board, and books and supplies at 42 universities. However, if tuition were allowed to increase annually at the rate the university originally proposed, the university would have the second highest tuition in the country by 2003, second only to Ryerson Polytechnic.
The Board of Governors will make a final decision on Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. in the Telus Centre.