Meet 5 Calgary students who plan to push back against looming tuition hikes

Students at the University of Calgary gathered on Thursday to learn, strategize and react to the prospect of looming tuition hikes.
From left: Aqsa Arif, Rose Jackson and Frank Finley were among students at the University of Calgary Thursday strategizing against potential tuition hikes that could result due to the provincial budget. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

Students at the University of Calgary gathered on Thursday to learn, strategize and react to the prospect of looming tuition hikes.

The 2019 Alberta budget provided less operational funding for institutions and removed the tuition freeze, which had been in effect for the past five years.

CBC News spoke with five members of Students for Direct Action, a group at the university, to learn their thoughts on the budget, student debt and the change they hope to implement.

Will Gregson, 22, is studying political science at the University of Calgary. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

Will Grigson, 22

"[The budget] makes me very, very angry. This economic mess that Alberta is in, it's not the students' fault. It's not the most vulnerable Albertans that should be paying for this. It will make the most vulnerable people have to foot the bill."

Aqsa Arif, 21, is in her third year studying communications and media studies. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

Aqsa Arif, 21

"I think advocating is very important. It doesn't matter the cause. If more people show up and join, you get momentum out of that, and you're more likely to see positive outcomes if you have a stronger voice. If more people came together, they could reach a wider audience."

Frank Finley, 23, is in his fourth year while taking a double major in law and society and political science. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

Frank Finley, 23

"The fact of the matter is that education is already extraordinarily expensive in this province. Proposed increases are] actually going to prevent certain students from even being able to attend the university. The idea that this isn't a big difference in terms of cash value for students and amount per year is incorrect." 

Sonia Garyayev, 19, is an arts student working on a major in drawing. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

Sonia Garyayev, 19

"I'm relatively fortunate. I live at home … but we find it hard to afford my education and my brother's future education, and I'm just seeing the depression of everybody else as well. I'm here on behalf of other people, as much as myself."

Rose Jackson, 19, is an environmental science student at the University of Calgary. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

Rose Jackson, 19

"We're demanding that our government does not increase tuition. It affects a lot of our students. [We want] students to have more money in their pockets so they're not starving, since we know a lot of students aren't able to afford food. They can barely make rent, and so they might not be able to focus as much on their education because they might be working longer hours to make rent or make tuition."

With files from Hala Ghonaim


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