One piece of the education puzzle

Some people are excited about the funding solution the government and the university have come to. Others are angry at the suggestion that this agreement is a solution.

Most students are happy about getting $184 back in their pocket. It’s not a solution to student debt, but it’s a step in the right direction. It doesn’t solve our financial situation, but it helps.

Tuition isn’t the only thing students struggle to afford. Costs of living, such as food and renting, are a big part of it.

An additional $225,000 to STU’s operating grant is an improvement, but it’s not enough. St. Thomas is still underfunded when compared with the other universities in the province.

A university’s sustainability largely depends on two things, tuition and the government’s operating grant.  Financial sustainability is crucial for a university as it enables them to offer a quality education and student services.

STU’s situation goes to show that if the government wants to set a cap or freeze tuition, they need to fund it.

Being able to predict how much you need to save for school is helpful, but becomes virtually useless if you can’t save enough regardless.

Wednesday, Premier Alward announced a two per cent increase to university operating grants for the next two years. They also committed to three per cent cap on tuition for the next three years.

STU is the only exception to the tuition cap rule. Our tuition will increase by three per cent plus $170 for the next four years.

While predictability helps, tuition increases remain a challenge for students. For students who are fortunate enough to find work, two summer jobs only allows them to save so much.

Both Minister Carr and Premier Alward made reference to a “redesigned student financial assistance program” being announced soon.

STUSU will get student voices in on that discussion.

We are advocating for increases in student financial aid while we acknowledge the importance of keeping tuition affordable. These two issues are inherently connected and are one part of the bigger puzzle.

Elizabeth Murphy

President, St. Thomas University Students’ Union


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