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University of Calgary said they’re open to further student consultation on tuition increases

University of Calgary officials have said they’re willing to postpone an upcoming Board of Governors vote on tuition to give time for further student consultation.

In a Thursday media release, the UCalgary Students’ Union said the finance committee for the school’s board of governors would be voting on tuition increases Nov. 21. A week later, they would talk with elected student leaders, the SU said.

The SU said that in previous years town halls on tuition were held much earlier.

“The university will essentially be approving the tuition and fee increases before students even know about them,” said SU President Nicole Schmidt.

“The university has shared the proposals privately with the SU but is unwilling to allow us to consult with students about these increases.”

The SU also believes UCalgary is not meeting obligations under the Tuition Fees Regulation and Alberta Tuition Framework. They’ve sent a letter to Alberta’s Advanced Education Minister to intervene.

“By blindsiding students with tuition and fee increases and failing to report, as required, on how fee revenue is being spent, the university is being secretive and unaccountable to its largest stakeholder,” said the SU’s VP External Mateusz Salmassi.

The University of Calgary, however said they’re willing to delay the vote to give students more time to provide input.

“The University of Calgary is happy to accommodate the request from the Students’ Union to move the vote on tuition to a later Board of Governors meeting to allow additional student consultation,” they wrote in a statement to LiveWire Calgary.

The University also said they’re working within the tuition framework when it comes to tuition increases.

“The University administration is proposing tuition increases in line with changes to Alberta CPI, as envisioned in the tuition framework and as has been previously communicated,” they wrote.

Province said student voices should be heard

Alberta’s Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides said they’re reviewing the letter sent by the UCalgary Students’ Union.

“Students always deserve to have their voices heard; that’s why the Tuition and Fees Regulation has various requirements for student consultation on tuition and fee increases that must be met by our universities,” Minister Nicolaides said.

Nicolaides said in Budget 2022 the province has invested $15 million to create a new low-income bursary. They’ve also provided an additional $12 million for existing scholarships.