Mount Allison University administration does not want to give students a rebate on tuition because of a faculty strike that shut down classes for three weeks this winter.
In a statement released by the university president's executive group on Monday, the administration said its focus is on meeting individual needs and ensuring students are able to successfully complete their year.
Student leaders had lobbied for a financial rebate similar to what was provided to students at the University of New Brunswick, who also saw three weeks of classes cancelled due to a faculty strike this winter.
The final decision on whether to issue a rebate rests with the university's board of regents at an upcoming meeting in May.
The university says it decided not to give a tuition rebate for several reasons:
- The labour disruption did not change the end goals of the university;
- The university will meet its responsibility to provide high quality education and experience to prepare students for the next step in their lives;
- Tuition fees are not set according to the number of hours in the classroom, but for the course being delivered;
- A refund would only be applicable if a course or term was cancelled.
The university said tuition covers a wide rage of services provided to students and in-class instruction is only one of the many things paid for through student tuition fees.
The university library, wellness centre, counselling services and academic supports are among the non-class based programs and services funded through tuition, said the university.
While the Mount Allison Students' Union has stated the university saved $856,948 in unpaid salaries over the course of the strike, the university said the final costs of the strike aren't yet known.
A number of financial issues will be settled through binding arbitration.
"Mount Allison will not make a policy or financial decision that adversely affects the university’s future," stated the university's release.
"Given budget realities, any rebate would eventually have to be financed by diminished student services or increased fees in the future."
Students' union president Melissa O'Rourke said student will lobby the board of regents to overturn the administration's recommendation when it meets in May.
"We are extremely disappointed that the university is recommending against a rebate," said O'Rourke.
"It is our intention to continue to apply pressure and support the proposal. After receiving over 500 letters from students, parents and alumni, it has become clear that a rebate is what the greater Mount Allison community wants."