Board passes two per cent increase to tuition and non-academic fees

The Board of Governors approved the annual two per cent increase to tuition and all non-instructional fees.

The increase, which happens every year in order to keep up with inflation, had been discussed both in public and in camera meetings. The tuition increases apply to domestic undergraduate and graduate students, as well as international graduate students. The non-instructional fee increases apply to all students.

Louise Cowin, VP students, said that the students they consulted made it clear that they were opposed to all fee increases by the university. She also talked about the letter submitted by the AMS on behalf of students, which said that students wanted more affordable tuition, but not at the cost of a poor quality of education.

"The letter that they provided to us made it clear that they wanted lower tuition, but also referenced the AMS Academic Survey in which the majority of students responded to the survey and identified that they did not want to reduce tuition at the cost of a lower quality of education," said Cowin.

Cowin also said that based on both specific consultation regarding the fee increases and the Academic Experience survey sent out to all undergraduate students, responses about the cost of education yielded similar results. Students that they talked to also said they wanted more consultation regarding the increases and a clear breakdown of where the money was going.

"I also acknowledge that there are still some improvements that the administration could make with respect to communication," said Cowin. "I also made reference to a theme in the students' verbatim comments that students are looking for cost savings and the administration echo the report from the comptroller as the ways in which the centre's budget has been reduced to the tune of $6 million this year and that the administration is looking very closely at reducing its expenditures and trying to focus its funding on value to students."

Board Chair John Montalbano asked whether the Board should focus on what is expressed in AMS letter rather than the wished of individual students.

"The AMS is the voice of the students in many respects," said Montalbano. "In a case like this where it's tuition increases, would the students not just expect the leadership on something so important would take that forward? We should pretty much be mindful as we are on the AMS' position and other constituents and perhaps the numbers of respondents should be expected to be lower because this is one where want the leadership voice to be dealing directly with the Board of Governors."

Cowin said that both were important, although the Board should take the sentiments expressed in the AMS letter seriously.

"We might be able to deduce that students therefore think that the student leaders representing them should be their voice. Hard to tell whether they actually do or not," said Cowin. "The fact that the AMS has taken the time to write their response, I think, is illustrative of the way in which they see their responsibility in terms of representing students on this campus."

The increase comes after the university increased international tuition by 10 per cent and student residence fees by 20 per cent.