By David Giles
Tuition at the University of Saskatchewan will be going up for the 2014-15 academic year.
The board of governors announced it had approved the increase that will see undergraduate tuition rise from zero to 5.5 per cent. The largest single group affected are students in the College of Arts & Science, where tuition will increase by 4.15 per cent to $5,633.
The board said despite the increase, students in the College of Arts & Science will have tuition rates 11 per cent below the median for comparable programs in Canada.
“We are pleased to note that even with this increase, students at the U of S will continue to pay some of the lowest tuition rates when compared to our Canadian peers,” said board chair Susan Milburn.
“Despite recent budget pressures, our priority continues to be to provide an exceptional educational experience that is affordable for our students.”
“Given that tuition rates also remain below the median of peer programs across Canada, we believe we are offering terrific value to students for their education,” added academic vice president Brett Fairbairn.
The University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union (USSU) says the increase is unreasonable.
“The tuition increase is out of line with the financial realities that students in Saskatchewan are facing,” said USSU vice president Jordan Sherbino.
“The increase is over double the rate of CPI.”
Students enrolled in the colleges of Pharmacy and Nutrition and Education will have an increase of less than four per cent while those in Dentistry will hold steady at $32,960.
On average, graduate students will see an increase of 4 per cent with the biggest increase at the College of Law, where tuition will go up 5.39 per cent to $12,015. For international undergraduate students, tuition is 2.6 times higher than the domestic rate while graduate students pay 1.5 times more for tuition.
The USSU is calling on the U of S to implement a long-term tuition policy, one tied to Saskatchewan’s Consumer Price Index (CPI).
“If the university can project shortfalls as part of TransformUS, surely they can project tuition costs for students,” Sherbino said.
“It would be beneficial for students to know the cost of their education when they are thinking about attending the U of S.”
Tuition makes up 23 per cent of the university’s operating budget, with the remainder coming from the Province of Saskatchewan, interprovincial funding, investments and other sources. The university’s 2014-15 operating budget will be announced in June. (Global News)