For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Devil’s in the details: Provincial budget tuition freeze turns out to be nothing of the sort
ST. JOHN’S, NL – Though the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador claimed to maintain a tuition freeze in their 2015 provincial budget, follow-up meetings have revealed the promise to be false. Memorial University President, Dr. Gary Kachanoski, revealed to students that graduate and international students will face a projected 30% tuition fee increase, while students living in residence will also face significant fee hikes.
In a meeting with students Dr. Kachanoski revealed he plans to pursue a 30% tuition fee increase for graduate students and international students in order to raise an additional $4.8 million, while increasing residence fees to raise $1.9 million – a move which would disproportionately target the province’s rural youth. Kachanoski also warned that the tuition freeze excludes the province’s medical students.
“Government’s failure to protect graduate and international students threatens a 15-year legacy of accessible post-secondary education in this province,” said Brittany Lennox, Director of Student Life with the MUN Students’ Union. “Increases to students living in residence will target rural youth who need support the most, while the whopping 30% fee increase that’s been proposed for others will target the very students the university and province are trying to attract. Graduate students and international students are both vital in building a diverse, highly skilled workforce to drive our economic recovery and replenish our shrinking population.”
The threatened fee increases undermine both accessible post-secondary education as well as provincial efforts to promote immigration. Students are calling for a restoration of funding to the university to protect the freeze and ensure that neither accessibility nor quality of education is compromised.
“It is short-sighted and irresponsible that with a university budget of more than $300 million, neither university nor government were able to find the necessary $6.7 million in savings necessary to keep the freeze for all students,” added Lennox. “We’re talking about less than 0.1 percent of the provincial budget, but the outcome will have a devastating impact on individual students, their families, and the future of the province. The fact that the university and government made these detailed plans without input from the broader university community is frankly appalling.”
Students will be holding a town hall on Thursday May 14 at 6pm in EN-2043 for students to discuss the looming fee increases and strategize next steps.