BC tuition freeze ends

Feb 21, 2002, vol.23, no.4

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The provincial government has lifted a six-year freeze on tuition fees at B.C. universities and returned autonomy for tuition fee decisions to university boards of governors.

“We welcome the decision to restore university autonomy,” says SFU President Michael Stevenson. “The combined effect of freezing tuition fees way below the national average, together with insufficient government grants over the past six years has made sustaining the quality of post-secondary education impossible without increased funding.”

In a report to the government the University Presidents Council (of which SFU is a member) noted that tuition at universities in B.C. had fallen to approximately 45 per cent below the national average. As a result, larger classroom sizes, higher student-faculty ratios and underfunded lab and classroom facilities have had an impact, making it harder to maintain the quality of education and to recruit and retain faculty and staff.

Before making a recommendation to the board of governors about tuition, Stevenson says the university administration will consult with members of the university community. “In particular, we will take great care to ensure that any rise in tuition fees is accompanied by a rise in the level of financial assistance available to students,” says Stevenson.

It will likely be April or May before a recommendation on future tuition is taken to the board of governors.

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