STU tuition jump threat has students speaking out
STU tuition to increase at least $150 next year, though jump will likely be higher
The possibility of a substantial tuition increase for the 2014 school year has students at St. Thomas university speaking out.
The university is working on the budget and it is expecting a $600,000 shortfall if it doesn't increase revenue. This comes after the provincial government recommended a tuition cap of $150.
"We're living in fear these past few months of what's next here," said third year STU student Henri Thibeau.
Jeffrey Carleton, spokesperson for STU, said the university needs to bring in more money.
"The province has already said that they have a suggested guideline of a $150 cap. At the same time, we have to look at the hard realities of our situation. Education inflation is between three and four per cent a year, the operating grant was frozen so we still have these cost pressures," he said.
Carleton said tuition will be going up by at least $150, though the increase could be much larger.
STU student union president John Hoben said in a presentation to students on Thursday that the scenarios included increases of between $1,100 and $1,400 over the next few years. He said there is even the possibility of cuts to scholarships.
"Students are very upset by this. They feel this kind of came out of the blue," said Hoben.
Carleton said the university is underfunded compared to others in the province and yet it has maintained tuition costs at $900 below the provincial average. But knowing the reasons behind the tuition increase are cold comfort to students facing rising debt loads.
"The reason why a lot of people come to STU is because of the low tuition cost. It's not one of the best schools in the country, at least not from what I've heard. We come here because its affordable. And its not going to be affordable anymore. Personally, I'm going into my fourth year of university I'm almost done. if I wasn't I probably wouldn't have come back next year," said third year student Johna Spencer.
Carleton said low income students would receive a bursary from the school to cover the cost of the increase.
Hoben said he understands that the university needs more money but he doesn't see this as the answer.
"We need to call on the government to invest more money in education," he said,
Students won't know for sure what kind of increase they're facing until the budget is presented for approval to the board of governors on May 12.