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Tuition is rising again as the university struggles to make ends meet

Get out the smelling salts because tuition increased again this year.

The majority of students at the University of Regina will be paying a four per cent tuition increase with this year’s fees, except for students enrolled in the science, engineering and business faculties. These programs will take the brunt of the increase with a whopping nine per cent increase. Take these percentages and multiply  by three and you will have the tuition fees of what international exchange students will have to pay for this semester. Impressive, isn’t it? Considering enrollment at the U of R this year is at an all time high at a record-breaking 13,119 students, tuition increases of this magnitude are just a tad extreme.

Clearly, this is the university trying to compensate shortcomings of the provincial government as the current legislature left the U of R with a severe shortfall of $3.6 million in operating funds as well as serious shortfalls in sustaining capital such as upgrading equipment and materials and paying down the university’s debt. I am not a mathematic prodigy, but I don’t need to be one to know that things are not adding up and that the money missing will have to be found somewhere else.

Further, the quantity of tuition funds being paid for by students and the quality of education some students are receiving do not balance each other out. Considering the legislature obliterated the film industry to “save” the province money, why doesn’t the provincial government use the money they “saved” and invest in the future of the province? Perhaps on students in post-secondary institutions that want to acquire knowledge? Even a portion of those “saved” funds (approximately $8 million) and the legislature would be able to give the U of R the funding it requires, instead of leaving it short. Students, then, would not have to break their necks maneuvering through financial obstacles that they shouldn’t have to navigate for an education. An  education that’s quality is being diminished even further by the funding cuts.

While I would argue that post-secondary education should charge students fees, wild spikes in tuition fees are not the answer. These tuition increases are becoming more detrimental to students regarding their eligibility to continue, access, and begin their education. I think that students, and anyone who wants to have a post-secondary education, should earn the privilege to attend a university by their academic standings, and not by the size of his or her family’s wallet.

Our province now has the second highest in tuition fees across the country, and this is the fourth tuition increase that students had to endure since the lift of the tuition freeze in 2009. If another tuition freeze is not an option (which is probably assured after what happened last year), could the government not even consider a compromise of a tuition cap of one to two per cent within a two-year’s time? This is a solution, I think, many students would be willing to negotiate.

Jordan Palmer
Photographer

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