Low tuition part of the attraction, say new MUN students

A proposed hike in Memorial University's tuition fees is receiving a chilly reception from new students in St. John's.

Student union claims rare tuition hike planned for N.L. university in 2017

Robyn Penney says one of Memorial's selling points is its low tuition. (CBC)

A proposed hike in Memorial University's tuition fees is receiving a chilly reception from new students in St. John's.

Incoming students at Monday's orientation events said low tuition rates are a big part of the university's draw and were a factor in why they chose to attend Memorial.

Last week, Memorial's students' union (MUNSU) released documents that showed the university's administration is considering raising tuition fees for students.

Tuition fees have been frozen at the university for more than a decade.

"It's upsetting because one of MUN's big hits is that it has low tuition," said Robyn Penney, a new student from Grand Falls-Windsor.

"I don't really like it because paying more money is never a fun thing to do — and it's just so expensive anyways," said Daniel, a new student from Gander.

Mun welcomed thousands of new students today at their annual orientation festivities. 0:42

Fee increases considered

MUNSU's documents show the workings of a tuition framework committee that was struck in April, before the provincial budget was released.

The committee was asked to consider ways to raise revenue that would try to sustain its low-tuition advantage.

However, in a memo to the committee, Noreen Golfman, the university's provost and vice-president, wrote that "freezing tuition while costs of virtually every university function rise annually does not seem rational."

On Thursday, MUN President Gary Kachanoski said it was too early to comment on their budget proceedings, and added discussions about tuition come up every year.

A couple of local students on Monday said a tuition fee hike would sting, but may not bring a disastrous affect.

"It's not as big of an impact as I think a lot of people are thinking about because compared to the rest of Canada we're still doing wicked," said Jennifer Kearley.

The three students, each from India, said international students already face high tuition fees. (CBC)

However, three international students, each from India, said a prospective hit could be even worse for them.

"For us, being international students, for us one dollar equals $2.50 of our own currency. Even 10 per cent is a very huge thing for us," one said.

International students pay $8,800 for two full semesters of study, while students from Canada pay only $2,550.

With files from Jonathan Crowe