Education Experts, Student Raise Equality Concerns Over U Of A’s Tuition Fee Hike

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About 12 courses at the University of Alberta are scheduled for a tuition hike by between 17 and 104 percent, beginning fall next year.

The increase will affect students seeking to pursue law, dentistry, pharmacy, radiation therapy, engineering, medical lab, counseling psychology, and business.

The university’s students’ union and the graduation students’ association termed this egregious and extreme via a press release, Monday.

Through a zoom call with local media, the university’s provost and VP of academics, Steven Dew, noted that fee hike is applicable to a segment of courses – those that have a much lower tuition fee compared to other institutions.

Education experts note that the hike may sound fair, as it targets students seeking lucrative career paths, but might affect those from low-income households that are looking to pursue these careers.

Tuition increase has a ceiling of 7 percent, however, Alberta’s tuition framework permits schools to ask the ministry of Advanced education for an exceptional hike, provided the hike will cause an improvement in the quality of education.

Dew added that the hike is designed to improve the quality of the programs the university offers, potentially through bringing on board new faculty members, increasing the bursaries the university offers as well as expanding its experimental learning system.

He also said that the government’s policies and well the MacKinnon panel, which is tasked with assessing its finances is in support of the institution shifting the cost of post-secondary programs to learners.

However, post-secondary funding experts have come out saying they have concerns over the equity of access need to be evaluated. Alex Usher, who heads the higher education Strategy associates, said that low incomes students are most likely to experience behavioral effects by raising tuition fees.

While the hike implies even more student debt, Usher added that this should not mean that they are getting a raw deal in the long run.
Dew noted that they will consult students and key stakeholders in the next few weeks.

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