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Lack of student consultation derails UCalgary’s tuition increase plans
Calgary – The Government of Alberta has delayed the massive tuition increases proposed by the University of Calgary, ordering the university to conduct proper student consultation in and resubmit proposals to the province by October 29. The SU warned the University that consultation was not adequate, but the Board of Governors approved the increase plan anyway and sent it to the Minister of Advanced Education for final approval.
The University of Calgary proposed exceptional tuition increases as high as 30% for undergraduate students in Engineering and Medicine to take effect in fall 2022.
The university was afforded a ten-month window, from September to June, to consult students, prepare, and submit tuition increase proposals to the Minister. The University only revealed its exceptional increase plans in mid-May, six weeks from the end of that window and only after students had left for summer break.
“The consultation process was flawed, it was forced, and it was done after students had left for the summer. The SU told university administration and the Board of Governors that student consultation wasn’t adequate. They failed to listen and are now being ordered by the Minister to do proper consultation.” – SU President, Nicole Schmidt
Students in affected faculties were sent surveys beginning in March that did not provide any context, details, or costing to students. In short, students weren’t aware that the surveys were somehow part of an exceptional tuition increase. It was not until mid-May that students were informed of the proposals, only after they began summer break.
“This is an opportunity for the university to conduct meaningful consultation with students and work to rebuild student trust. The SU is working on a document that will set out standards for student consultation. This will ensure that students are properly engaged in consultation and be used as a standard for consultations on tuition and other areas where student feedback is needed.” – SU President, Nicole Schmidt
After this experience, the SU strongly believes that there must be a minimum standard for the university to adhere to when it comes to student consultation and feedback. The SU will present a document outlining consultation minimum standards and best practices to university administration setting out student expectations in this regard. The SU remains committed to work with the university to ensure proper consultation occurs this fall.
The SU is grateful to Minister Nicolaides and appreciate the fact that he expects a higher standard from the University of Calgary.
Media inquiries may be directed to:
External Communications Specialist
University of Calgary Students’ Union