By Eric Fung
Differential tuition was the hot topic on this agenda.
University of Calgary Students’ Union executives presented a townhall on Tue., March 26 to discuss differential tuition, which entails different programs charging different amounts of tuition.
"The SU thinks that there shouldn’t be a differentiation between students of different faculties," said SU President Barb Wright. "The differences should only be based on students’ interests and academic qualifications."
University administrators have discussed implementing differential tuition at the U of C, following in the footsteps of Ontario and British Columbia where tuition was recently deregulated. The tuition of the University of Toronto’s Law program, for example, is expected to rise to over $20,000 per year in three years.
"If implemented, we would see lower-cost programs being offered by the ‘lower-cost’ faculties, and higher tuition for the others," said SU Vice-President External Oliver Bladek. "Students would choose their program based on what they could afford. Differential tuition would definitely limit accessibility."
The Faculties of Law, Medicine, and Management are most likely to be impacted by differential tuition. This is because they are perceived as providing a better education, with graduates having a higher earning potential. This doesn’t mean that tuition would go down for Social Science and Humanities students, however.
"I can tell you, there is no chance tuition will go down," stated SU VP Academic Nic Porco. "The money generated will not go into your pockets."
Wright said that SU lobbying efforts have been effective this year.
"I think we’ve made some progress in our tuition efforts," she said. "We had the government recognize flaws in the current policy, and so they’ve set up a committee [with student representation] to look at these flaws. Tuition efforts is definitely something we’ll keep working on."
Another townhall will be held April 11 at noon in the MacEwan Student Centre North Courtyard to discuss academic concerns, featuring U of C President Dr. Harvey Weingarten and VP Academic Dr. Ron Bond.