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UCalgary students deride 2023/2024 tuition increases

UCalgary said it has to deal with inflation and other cost increases.

The University of Calgary said cost increases and inflation are behind the 2023/2024 increase, but students said Friday that many learners may opt out of school instead of paying.

UCalgary’s Board of Governors approved a 5.5 per cent increase for domestic undergraduate students across all faculties except nursing. Nursing students will see an eight per cent increase. Most international students will see a 10 per cent increase.

Student services, campus recreation and athletic fees have also been increased 5.5 per cent. Residence fees will go up between two and six per cent, meal plans up seven per cent and parking by four per cent. Most of the fee increases will go into effect May 1, 2023.

“The Board’s tuition and fee decision was based on a thorough analysis of the situation, including inflation and cost increases,” said UCalgary Board of Governors Chair Mark Herman, in a release posted online.  

“Board members carefully reviewed the proposal that would affect undergraduate and graduate students before deciding to approve the fee increases, which still places the University of Calgary’s rates in line or below those of other post-secondary institutions across the country.”

The University of Calgary Students’ Union said that the typical domestic student at UCalgary will pay 33 per cent more for tuition than they did in 2019.

“Student money pays for nearly a quarter of the university’s operating budget. We deserve to be heard,” said SU President Nicole Schmidt.

“The university has failed to meaningfully engage with students and has not listened to student concerns. They need to do better.”

In November 2022, the SU was concerned that the Board of Governors was set to approve tuition increases without consulting students. Later, UCalgary agreed to consult further with students.

Student survey draws 3,000 responses

The university later held a 60-minute town hall, the SU said. That was on Dec. 7, 2022.  The SU said they put out a survey that received 3,000 responses. It showed that nearly 20 per cent of students would have to drop out because of the tuition increases. Two-thirds said it would put moderate or extreme financial on them.

“A sixty-minute town hall isn’t robust, it’s insulting. Students deserve better,” said SU Vice-President External Mateusz Salmassi.

“The university’s decision today means that many students will need to make choices between their education and food or housing. We made it clear that students are at a breaking point. The university and its Board simply didn’t care.”

University Provost Penny Werthner said they appreciated the feedback they’d received from students. They have also committed to offering more financial supports to students impacted by the rising costs.

“We understand that students are personally impacted by rising costs,” Werthner said.

“As we work to continue to offer high-quality programs and education to students, we are committed to continuing to listen to students as well as receiving the feedback provided by our campus community. We will be meeting with student leaders in the coming weeks to continue our conversations regarding the consultation process for future years.”

The university’s increase does fall in line with the increase expected for the typical single family homeowner in Calgary. That was approved last year.