Nfld. & Labrador

MUN proposes keeping tuition freeze for N.L. students, but new fees will hit all

Memorial University is proposing a tuition freeze for all current students until 2021 — but it's also proposing new student fees.

MUN wants 30% increase for non-N.L. students in fall 2018, $50 per course 'campus renewal fee' for undergrads

Memorial University Students Union representatives protest outside a meeting of MUN's senate discussing proposed tuition and fee changes Tuesday afternoon. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Memorial University is proposing to keep its tuition freeze for Newfoundland and Labrador students, while all other current students will see their tuition frozen until 2021.

However, the proposal would also see tuition go up for new students from outside the province in the fall of 2018.

That move would increase MUN's projected revenue by $1.5 million in 2018-19, rising to a $5.8-million boost for 2021-22.

Still, even if the proposal is approved, all students will have to pay more.

The university is proposing a "campus renewal fee" — $50 per course for undergrad students, and $167 per semester for graduate students. It is also hoping to introduce a $50 per semester "student service fee."

The proposal from university administration — which incudes $13.4 million in new spending cuts over the next three years — will be voted on by MUN's board of regents on Thursday.

Administration officials say the tuition freeze proposal is in response to concerns raised by students and faculty in recent weeks, but university president Gary Kachanoski says the campus renewal fee is needed "to keep the rain and water out."

Kachanoski said the proposed tuition increase for Canadian students outside Newfoundland and Labrador would be about $400 a semester, and $1,200 per semester for international students.

Kachanoski also told the university senate that the cuts will affect faculty.

"This will be not easy," he said. "If you're going to reduce expenditures for us, that means also reducing people."

Increase for non-N.L. students 'problematic'

Representatives with Memorial's students' union protested outside the senate meeting, with an oversized novelty pink slip for Kachanoski.

Sofia Descalzi, an international student from Ecuador and Grenfell campus's senate representative, said the tuition increases for non-N.L. students is problematic.

"It's just deferring tuition fee hikes, and those fee hikes are going to be higher than the ones that were just proposed," she said.

"We see a 30 per cent increase, we see higher ancillary fees, so students are not going to get away with having a tuition freeze. There's still a tuition increase, so we have to keep that in mind."

With files from Jeremy Eaton and Cec Haire