Opinions

SU view: Support affordable post secondary education

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"By the time post-secondary students head back in September 2006, Alberta will define a new tuition policy for the 21st century. It will be the most innovative, entrepreneurial, and affordable tuition policy in the country... We will do whatever it takes to make sure money isn't a barrier to attending Alberta's post-secondary institutions."

- Premier Ralph Klein, February 8, 2005

The Students' Union is currently circulating a petition that calls upon the government to recognize the financial burden borne by post-secondary students, and to take action by implementing a significant rollback of tuition fees, in keeping with the premier's public commitment to ensuring the affordability of higher education. On Thursday, March 16th the first batch of signatures is being presented to the Legislature. More will be appended later on in the year.

The provincial government is currently reviewing Alberta's entire post-secondary education system. Tuition increased again this year, and the government has decided to extend the tuition 'rebate' for one more year. The rebate is only a temporary solution to the affordability problem however, and the government is currently coming up with a new tuition policy. The Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS) believes that a significant, genuine tuition rollback is the right step towards genuine affordability for all Albertans. Tuition is one of the most significant costs of post-secondary education, as well as one of the only costs that the government has direct control over. CAUS is also adamant that once rolled-back, tuition should not increase beyond CPI minus 1 per cent.

Unfortunately, the university administration seems to have a different outlook on things. Recently, the presidents of the four public universities in Alberta got together and drafted a letter to the government asking for a continuation of the current amount of tuition that students are paying, and annual tuition increases of CPI plus 3.5 per cent. Such a request hardly seems to fall in line with their usual statements at the Board of Governors tuition decision, where they often protest that they have no choice but to increase tuition.

Be heard; email U of C president Harvey Weingarten at president@ucalgary.ca, and you can email Minister of Advanced Education Dave Hancock at dave.hancock@gov.ab.ca. You can currently find the petition in Mac Hall, as well as at other locations throughout campus. If you have any questions, suggestions, or would like to help collect signatures for the petition (or need more petitions!) please don't hesitate to contact me!

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