The Board of Governors at Simon Fraser University today moved to protect the quality of education at SFU and ensure access to the highest quality education at any comprehensive university in Canada. Tuition fee increases of 30% on average will be used to reverse the decline in course availability and student services and the increase in class sizes brought on by a six year freeze on fees.
At the same time, members of the board voted to direct 25% of the increase toward student assistance for academically qualified but economically disadvantaged students. "Student access and financial assistance are cornerstones of this tuition policy," said SFU president Michael Stevenson. "Revenue problems over the past years have not allowed us to provide adequate financial aid to these students. This is the first step to rectifying that."
The Board also moved to improve the overall quality of the student experience at SFU by approving increased fees for student services, athletics and recreation. In recent years SFU had fallen behind all other comprehensive universities in Canada for the portion of operating budget spent on student services. These fee increases will restore SFU’s position and support a number of new initiatives including First Nations programming, student orientation and student counseling. They will also be used for the elimination of some user fees and to provide assistance to sports clubs, intramural athletics and varsity teams.
The adoption of new fees follows a period of consultation with members of the university community, including students, faculty and staff, after the provincial government restored autonomy over tuition policy to universities earlier this year.
The Board approved the resolutions under unusual circumstances. For the second consecutive board meeting a small group of protestors blocked access to the meeting room. As a result the Board chair, Brandt Louie convened an emergency closed session to deal with the motions on tuition policy.
"I can sympathize with the concerns raised by students," said Louie. "However, the Board has a responsibility to preserve the integrity of the university. Faced with a deficit of almost nine million dollars we had little choice but to raise fees. We fully intended to have this meeting in public and I regret we were prevented from doing so."
Detailed information about the motions passed by the board as well as background papers are available on the web
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