MUN tuition hike will impact NL’s ability to attract and retain students, critics say
A large tuition hike planned for Memorial University has raised concerns that the price hike will prevent local and international students from attending classes.
“The students are furious. They are so upset and so anxious for their future with today’s announcement… It’s a huge leap and it’s terrifying for the students, ”Kat McLaughlin, President of Newfoundland and Labrador said Friday. Labrador from the Canadian Federation of Students.
“We hear from a lot of families with high school kids, middle school kids, who are now considering how this will impact their future and the savings they have had for their studies. This is a huge, huge announcement for this Province.”
The comments came hours after the province’s only university announced it would more than double its tuition fees for Newfoundland and Labrador students starting in the fall semester of 2022.
Tuition fees are expected to drop from $ 2,550 per year for local students and from $ 3,330 per year for other Canadian students, up to $ 6,000 per year. Currently enrolled students will not pay the premium rates, but will see tuition fees increase by 4% per year until 2026.
The increase is the first since 1999, when the provincial government increased operating grants to the university in support of a tuition fee freeze.
Although McLaughlin said it was not unrealistic to expect changes over 20 years, the freeze was important in attracting many students to the province, especially international students.
“It’s very, very expensive to live here, and these students take that into account when they decide to come here. The original tuition fees were affordable when you factor in all of these costs. Now we are losing that. “
NDP MP Jim Dinn, who is the party’s education critic, also expressed concern that rising tuition fees could turn people away.
“This is going to have a significant impact. It could mean that they are going to relocate or that they will not be able to pursue their dreams of post-secondary education,” Dinn said.
“If we’re looking to retain new Canadians, that doesn’t help.
Needs-based grants will not help students outside of NL
Dinn also spoke at length in reaction to the provincial government’s announcement of a new needs-based tuition relief grant program. Eligible students can apply for up to $ 3,450 per year in non-repayable scholarships, in addition to scholarships and loans already in place, according to a press release.
Students can apply if they are enrolled in a full-time undergraduate program and have graduated from high school in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“I’m listening to the government’s announcement and can’t help but think it’s the arsonist trying to claim credit for putting out the fire he started,” Dinn said.
“This is going to have a significant impact on the affordability of people who are already struggling here and trying to get their post-secondary education.”
McLaughlin echoed a similar idea, pointing out that the wording of the release shows that international students will not be able to apply for the new grants.
“Many students who are the most marginalized (…) they are the ones who cannot access structures and then receive scholarships,” she said.
Despite the backlash towards the university following the tuition hike, McLaughlin said she believes Memorial’s situation “is not just a reflection of the university.”
“This reflects the provincial government’s retreat from its commitment to fund post-secondary education,” she said.
“This is only to cover the government cut, so what we need is a government that puts education first. We hear that the government wants young people to get us out of this. mess, that young people are the future. We are not seeing this reflected. “