News / Edmonton

'Pretty precarious situation': University students campaign for predictable tuition

The Council of Alberta University Students launched a campaign this week to push for a long-term solution to fee uncertainties

Stephanie Nedoshytko, President of the Students' Association at Grant MacEwan University.

Kevin Tuong / Edmonton Freelance

Stephanie Nedoshytko, President of the Students' Association at Grant MacEwan University.

The Council of Alberta University Students launched a campaign this week to push for predictable tuition fees.

The Alberta government has frozen tuition for domestic students since 2015, but MacEwan University Students’ Association President Stephanie Nedoshytko said that’s only a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

“At the end of the day, without that long-term legislated tuition predictability, it doesn’t really help students at all,” she said.

“I always think of a student who is not even in university, whether they are in Grade 11 or 12 and they’re not necessarily sure what they’re going to do and what program they’re going to choose, or how they’re going to even afford their tuition.

“Now knowing that that expectation of them is going to be at the end of the road is a pretty precarious situation.”

Alberta’s Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt has promised to release a tuition fee review this spring.

The council is calling for restoration of fees to 1991 levels, before Ralph Klein-era deregulation, and for future increases to be tied to the Consumer Price Index.

Last week, the council released a report highlighting additional cost pressures facing international students, who pay 3.6 times more than domestic students on average.

At MacEwan last year, the board of governors voted to raise tuition by 15 per cent on international students.

The one vote against the increase came from the only student sitting on the board.

“It’s sad if a student came here for two years and can’t afford the next year and has to go home with an incomplete degree,” Nedoshytko said. “I would never want someone to go through that, or someone’s family to go through that.”

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