Tuition up 4.8 per cent

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The University of Calgary has recommended a near-maximum increase for tuition, however some money will be used for student-directed quality initiatives.

If approved at the Fri., Dec. 5 Board of Governors meeting, tuition will rise 4.8 per cent for both graduate and undergraduate students. For undergrads, this means an increase of $21 per half-course.

Students' Union President Jayna Gilchrist disagrees with the proposed increase and believes it is too much money for students to pay for education.

"They heard our concerns and we care about the university being a quality institution," said Gilchrist. "I don't think they heard concerns about accessibility and the financial difficulties students receive due to high tuition costs."

Graduate Students' Association President Jeff LaFrenz believes the increase is a sign of societal attitudes.

"My belief is education is underfunded," said LaFrenz. "It's a societal and government attitude. As long as society and the government have that belief, education will have a discrepancy between what students want and what the university charges to keep the lights on and doors open."

U of C Vice-President Academic Dr. Ron Bond said administration knows tuition is increasing and they've set aside $1 million for the SU and GSA to divide.

"Because we're conscious of the fact students are paying increased tuition, and we're recommending another increase, we're trying to ensure quality of their degree," explained Dr. Bond. "We're trying to listen to students and we're keen on having students tell us how to spend the money."

The SU and GSA do not know when they will discuss the money or what the money will be spent on. Currently, the SU is conducting a quality survey among undergraduate students, with results coming out in January.

As well, the proposed tuition increase will be a separate motion from the $1 million for quality improvements during the BoG meeting.

Another outcome of the final tuition consultation meeting held Fri., Oct. 31, was the proposal the university and students raise awareness within the Calgary community and provincial government.

"We've done this in other years to one degree or another," said Dr. Bond. "Both of us realize we share an interest in trying to ensure government understands the issue around tuition fees."

Gilchrist agrees.

"Utilizing both groups' resources is a good idea and any type of collaboration gets the message out in a broader stronger context," she said.