Board approves tuition fees

May 01, 2003, vol. 27, no. 1
By Marianne Meahahl

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Simon Fraser University's board of governors has approved an increase in tuition fees of 30 per cent effective this fall.

The increase will ensure access to the highest quality education by helping to reverse the decline in course availability, class size and student services, all of which suffered under a six-year freeze on fees.

Tuition makes up approximately 25 per cent of SFU's operating revenue. A 30 per cent tuition fee increase this year places SFU's tuition rate at 10 per cent below the national average.

Twenty-five per cent of the increase will be set aside for scholarships and to assist students who are academically qualified but economically disadvantaged.

The board approved a similar increase in basic undergraduate tuition fees last year, also setting aside 25 per cent for scholarships and bursaries. “Improving scholarships and bursaries is an integral part of our approach to tuition increases,” says President Michael Stevenson. “This will allow students eligible for bursaries to receive a significantly greater proportion than previously.”

The tuition fee increase means the basic undergraduate fee will rise from $95.10 to $123.70 per credit hour.

Programs subject to premium fees, including business, computer science and engineering science, will see the base tuition fee rise 30 per cent, while the premium fees for computing and engineering will be decreased from 33 per cent to 10 per cent. The rate reflects changing circumstances in future employment potential, demand for programs and a need to remain competitive with other B.C. universities.

Newly admitted international students (September 2003) will pay $10,000 over 30 credits per year plus the undergraduate base tuition of $123.70 per credit hour. International students enrolled as of Aug. 31, 2003 will continue to pay three times the applicable domestic rate ($123.70) or the new international rate, whichever is less. The move is designed to begin a process whereby international students will eventually pay the full cost of their education.

The board also approved a 30 per cent fee increase for student services and athletics and recreation (from $62.40 to $81.12 for full-time students), which will further support a number of new initiatives that include First Nations programming, student orientation and counseling.

Without the tuition increase the university would face a $9.8 million deficit. The shortfall is the result of a decline in its provincial operating grant, rising costs associated with salaries and benefits, faculty retention and renewal.

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