By Aleysha Haniff
Associate News Editor
A recommendation from the Educational Policy Institute (EPI) could raise tuition fees by up to 25 per cent to cover Ryerson’s expenses.
EPI’s report, published in February, suggests a nationwide tuition increase as an option to cover the falling value of universities’ endowment funds. According to the think tank, endowment funds have dropped anywhere from 15-30 per cent because of the recession.
But a major tuition increase is unlikely because it would be politically impossible, said Ryerson president Sheldon Levy.
According to Levy, the provincial government determines tuition payments.
“25 per cent did not represent government policy, it didn’t represent what Ryerson thinks, it didn’t represent anything I heard coming out of the Council of Ontario universities. So it was just a number by someone.”
Though Levy mentioned a tuition increase of roughly 5 per cent for next year, he said he would be surprised if a major change on top of that figure was implemented.
He also said he would fight for students if the government seriously considered a 25 per cent tuition hike because forcing students to shoulder the burden of the recession would be unfair.
Adam Kahan, VP of university advancement, said the exact status of Ryerson’s endowment fund won’t be available until May. Based on current information, there is no relationship between tuition fees and endowments, he said.
“It’s not been adopted by anybody, it’s not official, it’s a recommendation by an…educational consultant to say that based on his analysis the province should consider making a significant increase in tuition fees,” said Kahan.
The endowment fund, which actually consists of 460 individual funds, has dropped in value of about 15-16 per cent, though the exact value fluctuates from day to day.
Most endowments go to scholarships, bursaries, specific programs and faculty support. More than a million dollars go toward bursaries, he said.
“We’re committed to doing our utmost…to maintain the distribution of bursaries this year,” he said.
Rebecca Rose, VP education for the Ryerson Students’ Union, said the increase would give students a reason to organize.
Meanwhile, students like Jennifer Pye have to consider chopping the fun out of their budgets.
The third-year nursing student already has to work “like crap” all summer to pay for a Ryerson education.
Her tuition totals over $5,000 a year plus books and other fees. She figured she’d have to rely on photocopied textbooks, work extra shits over the summer, and “pray” to make ends meet if her tuition increased drastically.
“I like to go out, I like to enjoy life, but that would be cut back,” she said.