U of C proposing 'exceptional' tuition increases for handful of programs

The proposed "exceptional" increases for fall 2022 would result in tuition in some University of Calgary programs jumping by more than 50 per cent.

Proposed increases are between 15 and 51%

Tuition increases were proposed for a handful of programs starting in the fall of 2022 at the University of Calgary. (David Bell/CBC)

University of Calgary administration spoke with student leaders Tuesday evening about proposed international tuition increases and "exceptional" increases for fall 2022 that would result in tuition in some programs jumping by more than 50 per cent.

The change would not affect current students, only new students beginning in the fall of 2022.

The university must submit its application for the exceptional tuition hikes to Advanced Education by the end of June.

"The exceptional tuition increases are intended to ensure continued educational quality in high demand programs by offsetting the impact of recent provincial budget reductions," the university said in a statement emailed to CBC News.

The university said it is also seeking major tuition increases for international students in certain programs, which would need to be submitted to the board of governors for approval by the end of next month, too.

The Students' Union (SU) said administration presented plans for the increases at an information session during the union's legislative council.

Increases up to 51%

For undergraduate programs, tuition would go up 15.7 per cent for the medical doctor program and 32 per cent for the bachelor of science in engineering for domestic students, if approved by the province.

International bachelor of science in engineering students would see tuition increase by 51 per, if approved by the board of governors.

For graduate programs, tuition would increase by 25 per cent for the master of business administration if an exceptional increase is improved, and by more than 35 per cent for the master of engineering for international students if approved by the board.

That means MD students and domestic engineering students would pay more than $2,000 extra each year, and international engineering students would pay an additional $11,000 per year.

"Engineering especially has been pretty hard hit by tuition increases in the past two years. For the last two consecutive years, we've seen a 10 per cent increase for domestic engineering students. So these increases would be on top of that," said SU president Nicole Schmidt.

"It's becoming exponentially expensive to go into an engineering program at the University of Calgary."

SU advocating for delay

These hikes are in addition to an average increase of seven per cent approved in February for nearly all programs, and the impacted programs would still be subject to those annual increases in future years.

The SU has invited administration to return to its legislative council meeting on June 1 to conduct a consultation.

"We're calling on the university to delay the proposed increases until students are back in classes and hopefully back on campus," said Schmidt. 

"Failing that, the SU plans to advocate to Minister [Demetrios] Nicolaides to delay approval until such a time is better and a more fulsome student engagement can be done. As of right now, the student union is skeptical that consultations can actually be done adequately over the summer break."

The University of Calgary told CBC News it's continuing to consult with stakeholders.


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