Release – Students call for delay to exceptional tuition increases due to lack of consultation

June 2, 2021  |   Found in News

CALGARY – Student leaders had the opportunity to question UCalgary administration on the exceptional tuition increases being proposed for undergraduate students in Engineering and Medicine. Students asked several questions about the consultations that the university has said they’ve been engaged in since March and raised concerns as to why the Students’ Union was not made aware of any proposal until mid-May.

The university is proposing a 15.7% increase for Medical Doctor students and 32% and 51% for Bachelor of Engineering domestic and international students, respectively.

The university admitted that students surveyed in affected faculties in March and April were not told it was in relation to an exceptional increase. This means that students were asked to fill out a survey with no context and no numbers as to the percentage increases students were facing.

“This is like government putting out a survey on building a new highway without saying where the highway is going or how much it will cost. Students were left in the dark on what the surveys were about. I’m not sure how the university can claim they’ve conducted meaningful consultation on tuition increases without saying by how much or why tuition is increasing.” – SU President, Nicole Schmidt

Students were only informed of the details of the exceptional tuition proposal in May, after classes had finished and students left for summer break. The Students’ Union has contacted student leaders from the affected faculties, and all have said that no details were provided until May.

The university has a ten-month window, from September to the end of June, to consult on and then submit exceptional tuition increases to the province. This means that the university had ample opportunity to plan ahead and bring these increases forward while students were in classes.

“The university appears to have made a deliberate choice in only unveiling the details of these increases after students went on summer break. This kneecapped the ability of the SU to advocate for students and denied students the opportunity to provide feedback on the detailed proposal.” – SU President, Nicole Schmidt

The SU calls for this process be halted until adequate student consultation can be conducted, as per government regulations. The SU is putting together a detailed list of what the bare minimum for meaningful student consultation should look like. Once complete, this list will be shared with students, the university, and the government.

Until the consultation threshold is met, the SU calls on the university to delay the increases until they can conduct real consultation with students on campus starting in September. Failing that, the SU calls on Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides to delay the proposals until at least the fall and direct the university to properly consult with students.

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown

External Communications Specialist

University of Calgary Students’ Union

Cell: 403-560-0577