Differential tuition

Editor, the Gauntlet,

Re: "Paying for guinea pigs," Jan. 17, 2002,

Does anyone really believe that tuition for Humanities or Social Sciences would go down if Medicine, Management and Engineering students were charged more for their courses? I assure you that the best case scenario for students in less costly programs would be smaller increases, but that everybody’s tuition would continue to rise, and probably by a lot more than it has risen over the past four years.

Right now, students in Humanities don’t pay the full cost of their education through tuition, so the idea that they’re paying for biology labs and equipment is inaccurate. We all pay only a portion-government and other external sources make up the rest.

What would happen at University of Calgary if tuition for the faculties of Management, Medicine, Engineering, and Law increased? At least 80 per cent of this differential would stay within the faculty to run programs. So the students will pay for more, the Faculty will have a bigger budget, but there wouldn’t be a benefit to the university as a whole. There will not be a decrease in tuition for anyone.

The one thing that should never happen at the U of C is the implementation of differential fees in any way. Students all pay approximately the same amount of tuition, regardless of the faculty they are in. Social Sciences students pay the same as Science and Engineering students per course, even though there isn’t as much costly equipment used to educate them. English students pay the same per course as Management students even though their courses cost less to teach.

Charging different amounts of tuition for students in different programs, or attaching a "course fee" to certain programs goes against the philosophies of higher learning and intellectual freedom that universities have symbolized for
hundreds of years.

One of these founding principles seems to be on the brink of being taken for granted at this university. Any person who meets the academic standards of the University of Calgary should be able to take any program or degree that they are interested in, and not be deterred by financial reasons. The cost of an Engineering degree shouldn’t discourage a bright student from pursuing his or her interests. Nor should a person interested in History think that degree is useless or worthless because it costs less than a Marketing degree.

If there’s one thing the U of C should cut in the next four months, it’s the strategy of differential tuition.

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