Losing our faculties: University is costing students more. Again.

By DJ Kelly November 23, 2007

It will soon be 17 years of fee hikes of more than twice the rate of inflation. Can you imagine if the City did that to your property taxes? What would you do if the federal government did that to your income tax rate? We’d probably all get outrageously angry and oust the government as soon an election was available. I doubt a government could even go for more than 4 years of raising a fee of any kind in this manner before they were turfed from office.

But this is exactly what is happening at the University of Calgary (and most other post secondary institutions in Alberta) as their Board of Governors will once again raise tuition next month by the maximum legally allowed by the provincial government for the 17th straight year.

Think about that for a second… 17 years in a row.

Over that time tuition has gone from slightly less than $1,000 a year to slightly more than $5,000 per year. That’s an increase of more than 500% in the time it took a mom and dad’s new baby to start thinking about what s/he would like to take at university and do for the rest of their lives. How can a parent save for something that so wildly increases in price in such a short period of time? No wonder we have students graduating from our universities and upon notice of having to pay back their student loans they promptly become homeless. Even though they have a good steady job they love.

It’s enough to make you go insane. Insane because there are none of the usually expected checks and balances we find in other systems. Students and citizens can’t vote for who is on a university board. Heck, when they renewed the UofC president’s contract the university didn’t even follow their own rules by having a formal committee with students sitting on it. (That’s a story for another day though. Let’s stay focused here, okay? Eyes on the prize.)

I guarantee our universities will continue this trend unless WE help them stop. Yes, us. You and me. It is the only way. And because of that I fear our students may face another 17 years of tuition hikes. Sigh.