Changes to the proposed tuition reset were presented at the Town Hall meeting hosted by the UNBSU on Friday.
Law students, who were originally set to see the steepest tuition hike at $10,000, will now be looking at $8,786, while other faculties will see slight raises in proposed tuition fees or stay the same. Education actually went down to $7,096 from $7,772.
Arts and Science remained at $7,096; Business and Business Administration went up to $8,246 from the original $8,110 proposal; Computer Science went up to $8,110 from $7,772; Engineering to $8,381 from $8,110; Forestry and Environmental Management remained at $7,434; Kinesiology to $7,908 from $7,772; Nursing to $8,381 from $8,110; Renaissance College remained at $8,110.
UNB vice-president academic George MacLean said that the tuition changes weren’t one to one—they didn’t just add the difference in the law decrease to other tuition rates, adding that some went up before law went back down.
“With regard to the rate for law, it has been decreased as a direct result of information we received from consulting with students, the dean of law and faculty,” MacLean said in an emailed statement to the Brunswickan. “All of these changes have been made independently of each other. There is no connection between some rates decreasing and others increasing.”
MacLean also said that “none of these rates are set in stone.”
Some students were still not happy with the proposed tuition changes.
“I don’t think tuition rates should go up at all; they should be lowering it,” said Abram Lutes, calling the new tuition rates “ridiculous.”
“Overall, there’s a pretty severe contradiction between what admin wants to do and the interests of students.”
Ben Lord of the Law Students Society said in an emailed statement that he is concerned that the university administration was able to change the tuition figures so easily as if “the report is not founded on concrete research.”
“We see this reduced figure as a step in the proper direction; however, the framework and analysis of the task force is still of concern. This conversation is not over, as the concerns of many law students have gone unaddressed,” said Lord.
MacLean said that consultation with students and faculty did factor in to the most recent changes.
“The proposed rates have been adapted in response to feedback from the consultation process – from the Board of Governors, Senates, deans, faculty and students.”
Currently there is a petition with almost 170 student signatures as well as 30 letters by law students that Lord says will be sent to UNB’s Board of Governors, which is set to vote on the framework of the tuition reset in May.
This year’s UNBSU president Herbert Bempah, vice-president advocacy Haley MacIsaac and vice-president internal Chris McGinn were present at the Town Hall, but there was nobody from the incoming UNBSU executive there.
However, incoming UNBSU president Richard Du did say in an emailed statement to The Brunswickan that the incoming executive members are already working with the UNB administration concerning the tuition reset.
“We are currently, and will be working with UNB administration over the next few weeks before our term officially starts this May. Rest assured that we are well-versed and communicating with UNB administration and students on this important issue, so that we can take measures immediately when we begin work.”
Proposed tuition reset to be presented to the Board of Governors “in principle” in May
The process for the tuition reset began in March 2017 with the creation of the tuition review task force. According to UNB’s administration, tuition freezes and caps from the province have hindered the university’s ability to generate revenue—90 per cent of which comes from tuition and the provincial government’s operating grant.
The results of the tuition review task force, announced to students at the Feb. 25 UNBSU council meeting, recommended a tuition model that is that is “differentiated by program and charged by term.”
The changes will only impact new students entering in the 2019-2020 school year and after. All other students will see a 2 per cent increase to their tuition each year.
Students were not happy with the recommendations, especially law students who saw the steepest proposed hike at $10,000. Students organized a tuition hike protest sit-in at the March meeting of the UNB Fredericton Senate, where over 100 students showed up.
One main concern brought up at the Senate meeting was that the increase in tuition rates will not result in an increase in funding to the faculties; rather, the money is intended to help the university eliminate its deficit.
A motion to delay the tuition reset recommendations from going to the Board of Governors until October passed at the March Senate meeting. Motions passed in Senate are non-binding, though, and the Board does not have to abide by the delay. According to MacLean, “the proposed tuition reset will be presented to the Board of Governors in principle this May.” The motion from Senate will also be presented to the Board at this time.
The tuition rates themselves will not be voted on until April 2019, as part of the 2019-20 budget.