Saskatchewan

University of Regina announces $188 fee decrease for fall semester

The University of Regina Student Union says online learning isn't the same as what students get in-person, so students should have a tuition decrease.

The University of Regina Student Union says online learning isn't the same

The University of Regina has announced a student fee reduction of $188 for the fall semester, which was previously announced to be completely remote learning. (CBC)

University of Regina student fees will decrease by $188, the university said in a video update. 

Interim President Thomas Chase spoke in the video about the U of R's updated response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The university previously announced all fall semester classes would be online. 

"Every course will meet all the necessary academic requirements, leading to the same fully accredited and recognized degrees that students would earn through face to face classes," Chase said Tuesday. 

Throughout the pandemic, there have been calls for the university to decrease tuition. 

Chase said the university appreciates the difficult financial situation students are facing, but cannot reduce tuition due to fixed or increased costs. 

He said instead, the university has distributed $320,000 through student emergency funds, removed financial holds, waived late payment fees and suspended parking fees. 

The University of Regina Students Union (URSU) said it wants to see more, including a tuition decrease.

"Our members are facing significant economic and emotional pressures during these hard times," Gurjinder Lehal, URSU president, said. "So it's really going to be a hard time for students." 

Gurjinder Singh Lehal is the president of the University of Regina Student Union. (Submitted by Gurjinder Singh Lehal)

Tuition puts pressure on international students especially, he said, because they do not always qualify for provincial or federal assistance and are having trouble finding summer jobs in the province. 

"The students are unemployed, they are not having money for their tuition, so it's really hard," he said. 

Online learning not worth in-person tuition: URSU President

Lehal said online learning does not match what students receive in person and that some students have difficulties accessing it. 

"Poor internet connection, lack of resources, and so many difficulties," Lehal said. "I have seen 10 students doing their midterms on a single laptop."

Lehal said he's heard from other universities that they are providing internet hubs for students living together in large groups. He said moving to fully-online learning is another reason tuition should decrease.

"It's really a poor learning experience," he said. "So I don't think that is worth paying so much fees if we are studying it online."

Chase said the university will also honour athletic scholarships and have new on-campus work placements. 

Lehal said honouring scholarships is expected of the university, given how much money the varsity sports have brought in the past.

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