The Aquinian

Tuition increases: “normal”

(Alex Solak/AQ)

The fee increases for STU students are “normal” according to Lawrence Durling, Vice-President Finance and Administration.

Last Friday, an email from Larry Batt, Dean of Students and Registrar, introduced the fees increases, including a $480 increase to international tuition.

Since 2007-2008, there has been a domestic tuition freeze for all universities in the province. While this has made many Canadian students happy, those from outside the country pay almost three times the rate of some of their friends.

With the $480 increase, international students will pay $12,480 per year for tuition for a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Canadian students pay $4,570.

“Fee increases will undoubtedly be required in the future to meet expenditure increases,” Durling said.

Durling says fee increases are inevitable (Tom Bateman/AQ)

This year, most of the cost increases for St. Thomas University were due to staff salaries. According to Durling, there are seven new full-time staff positions for 2010-2011.

Because of the freeze on domestic tuition, “an increase in the international tuition fee is the only recourse available to universities in order to cover cost increases in the total expenditure base,” Durling said.

Craig Mazerolle, Vice President Education of STU’s Students’ Union, believes the increase in international tuition is “another example of this unrepresentative decision-making process.”

“With students only finding out about the decision after the fact, there is no real consultation with international students, especially since many international students may not even be in the country, let alone on campus when these decisions are being made confidentially through the summer.”

Each year, the President’s Advisory Committee on the Budget (PACB) makes recommendations for STU’s budget. The committee attempts to balance the budget and lower the financial pressure on students while still maintaining quality services.

Durling said members of the PACB and the provincial government are aware of the problems that occur when international students are the only ones with new fees tacked on to their tuition.

Mazerolle looks to Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) for inspiration in finding a solution to the rising cost of international tuition.

In 2007-2008, MUN administrators wanted to increase international tuition by ten per cent. After domestic and international students  lobbied against the increase, the provincial government asked the university to reconsider the change. The request was eventually accepted.

Durling wants students to know that STU’s budget has yet to be finalized. Larry Batt’s email was sent to STU students before the final decisions have been made in order to promote an “opened process.”

Mazerolle said that isn’t enough.

“Tuition fees are well above the level they should be at to ensure that we have a system open and accessible to all academically qualifies students across the country.”

“Fee increases are something that students from across this country have had to deal with and fight against,” he said. “But when students are united in their attempts to ensure our country’s public, post-secondary education system is open and affordable to all, we have seen time and time again that they can get real and meaningful results.”

Although the general student body won’t have a say in STU’s final budgetary decisions, there are student representatives on the PACB as well as the Board of Governors. Both committees have to approve the budget.

Durling will also go over the budget with STU’s Students’ Union once the school year has begun.

Domestic Tuition International Tuition
St. Thomas University $4,570 $12,480
University of New Brunswick $5,482 $11,912
Mount Allison University $6,720 $14,110
Université de Moncton $4,920 $8,343
Memorial University of Newfoundland $2,550 $8,800
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