Another year, another tuition increase

Got an extra $145 bucks stashed away? Don’t blow it on excessive holiday spending just yet–university administration is laying claim to your chequebook early this year.

That’s right, another year, another proposed increase. If university administration gets their way, your tuition will increase by 3.7 per cent again next year. This increase will be proposed to the Board of Governors on November 30. That’s the same amount as last year’s increase, and approximately 50 per cent of the maximum allowable tuition increase according to Provincial Legislation. At the end of the day, it will work out to be another $145 added onto what you’re already paying for a full-time course load.

Want to know what students are going to get for their additional $3.1 million contribution to the University of Calgary’s $550 million budget? Big fat nothing. The extra you pay next year won’t give you smaller class sizes, hire more T.A.s, or allow the university to offer more courses. In fact, university faculties have been instructed to cut five per cent of their budgets. As far as I can tell, undergraduates won’t be seeing anything new or improved for the extra cash they’ll be forking over, they’ll just be covering more of the university’s day to day costs. And that’s unacceptable.

Tuition at the U of C is already too high. We’re paying $4,400 per year in tuition and fees right now. Alberta has the third highest tuition rates in the country, and tuition has increased 160.8 per cent since 1991. Minimum wage hasn’t tripled, scholarships and bursaries haven’t been a funding priority, yet tuition has risen at a rate that is 10 times faster than inflation. And students still aren’t seeing any benefits from the ever-increasing costs of education at the U of C.

Last year, the university used inflation in Alberta as their rationale for increasing tuition. Inflation this year is 2.8 per cent, not 3.7 per cent. So why, you ask, is the proposed increase for this year more than inflation? Why, after three years of progressively lower increases, has the university decided not to lower the number this year? Why aren’t they planning on directing the entire increase towards programs and initiatives that will directly benefit undergraduate students? Why do they think it’s OK to ask students to pay more without offering them anything in return?

These questions and any others students have regarding tuition can be answered at a Townhall meeting with administration in the North Courtyard of the MacEwan Student Centre Tues., Nov. 27 at noon. There is also a tuition forum on the SU Web site at Register for the forum and have your concerns about tuition heard. Finally, come to the Board of Governors meeting Fri., Nov. 30 at 9 a.m. in the Blue Room of the Dining Centre and show that students care about tuition.

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