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University refuses to allow students to be consulted on upcoming tuition increases
Calgary – The Students’ Union is sounding alarm bells after University of Calgary administration has refused to allow the SU to discuss with undergraduate students on upcoming increases to tuition and fees. As a result, students have not yet been made aware of the details of upcoming increases.
The Finance and Property Committee of the UCalgary Board of Governors will vote on tuition increases on November 21. It is not until November 29th that the university will speak to elected student leaders. The item will then go to the Board of Governors on December 9. In previous years the university has held student town halls on tuition and attended the SU’s student council much earlier in the process. This has not occurred this year.
“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.”
In a 2021 judicial review of tuition increases at NAIT, brought by its student association, the judge ruled that consultation must go beyond the simple creation of the consultation mechanism and two student council meetings.
“The university has failed to meet its obligations under the Tuition and Fees Regulation and Alberta Tuition Framework,” says SU VP External Mateusz Salmassi. “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.”
Alberta’s Tuition and Fee Regulation requires the university to report specifically on how mandatory fee revenue, collected from students, is being spent. The university has failed to produce a report on two of its three mandatory fees.
The SU has asked for the vote on the tuition and fee proposals at committee and the December 9th Board of Governors meeting to be delayed to ensure that students are meaningfully consulted. The university has refused both of these requests, allowing only for elected student representatives to be able to receive the tuition and fee increase details.
As a result, the SU has written to Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides asking him to intervene and ensure that students are engaged and consulted. This is not the first time that the SU has asked the Minister to intervene due to inadequate consultation. In 2021, the university also failed to adequately consult with students on Exceptional Tuition Increases, resulting in the university being required, by the Minister, to re-start the consultation process properly and delay the government approval of large tuition increases to two faculties.
Media inquiries may be directed to:
Mike Brown, External Communications Specialist
University of Calgary Students’ Union
403-560-0577 or Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org