30
Mar
09

the tuition question

Recently, there was almost a motion in front of the AMS to change our policy on Tuition. It was a particularity bad policy, bereft of nuance, and would certainly have failed. However, in advance of this, I wrote an article to the Ubyssey, which they titled “Two per cent isn’t a tuition hike“. I hoped this article would help stimulate a respectful debate that could help us generate some ideas. Instead, we get this:

That’s all well and good, but student aid bc, minimum wage and student financial assistance remains frozen. You shouldn’t kid yourself that this 2% will be used to help students. If you are that deluded, you must not have been paying attention during your time at the AMS.
– ‘Rory’

It’s sad to see an important issue degenerate into ad hominim attacks, especially from someone who I’d considered a friend. (If this isn’t Rory Green, many apologies.) It also is distressing to see that the “Quality doesn’t count” people are still running our external policy. I for one consider the increased quality of education a plus, one that could, how would you say, help students.

Since no one seems to be interested in engaging in a reasoned back and forth on tuition policy (least of all the AVP External, which is concerning, seeing as how it’s her … job), I thought I’d throw out some of the things that I believe in, and see if the cat licks it up.

  • A hard cap on tuition should be enacted, through legislation.
  • Provincial PSE funding must increase at a rate no lower than the Higher Education Price Index.
  • Provincial PSE funding must take into account predictable salary increases, such as ladder climbing (beyond standard cost of living increases) in the transfer amounts to the institutions.
  • If there is a discrepancy between the increase in student contribution and the amount the student contribution would have gone up if indexed to the Higher Education Price Index, the provincial government is responsible for making up that gap.
  • A long term tuition and funding framework should be enacted that would see the overall government funding for post secondary education increase at a rate at least double that of domestic tuition increases, including a commitment to reduce the proportion of student funding through tuition fees to no greater than twenty percent.
  • The hard cap should not only take into account inflation, but also the ability of a student to pay for their education, as an aggregate whole.
  • When a student enters a post secondary institution, they are entitled to know what their whole education will cost. The maximum tuition increases levied on that student should be fixed in their first year, and that rate of increase be set for no less than five years.
  • It is not unreasonable to ask students in the upper income quartiles to, through their tuition, subsidize those in the lowermost income quartiles through bursaries and grants.
  • What the hell happened to Campus 2020?
  • Expansion in the Loan Remission program, and the reinstitution of the BC Grants program should take place.
  • Within a decade, the average debt of a student with debt should be no higher than the inflation adjusted equivalent of $6000.
  • Parents should not be held wholly accountable in providing for the cost of their child’s education, and the British Columbia Student Loan Program needs-assessment formula must change to take this and other concerns over the scope of needs-assessment into account.
  • The government should crack down on predatory private institutions that exploit students and taxpayers by encouraging students to take out huge loans, lying about expected income, and producing high default rates.
  • Student loan interest rates should be set at the Government Cost of Borrowing plus nominal administrative costs.
  • The funds made available by the Government of British Columbia for student financial assistance should increase with the highest rate of tuition increase at a public institution in the province.
  • International students should not be required to pay greater tuition increases than domestic students, and Government of British Columbia funding policy with regards to salaries and University Transfers should be adjusted to take this into account.
  • Students, and particularly international students, are equals in the education system, rather than a source of revenue for post-secondary institutions.
  • International students who indicate that they will stay in BC for some period of time after graduation should be able to pay tuition rates equal to their domestic counterparts.

Now, I will have some things to say about the comments that sparked this post, but that’s for another day.

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