By Alfea Donato
Good news: your tuition will increase at a lower rate next year. Bad news: Your tuition will still increase next year.
On Thursday, Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, announced the cap on post-secondary tuition. Increases will be lowered to three per cent, down from the five per cent limit set by the McGuinty government. Tuition for graduate students will drop to five per cent from eight.
Universities will be restricted to that limit for the next four years.
“Half of our money comes from tuition fees roughly, and half from the government,” said Ryerson President Sheldon Levy. “So if we were given two per cent more fees it would account for one per cent overall more money.” But Thursday’s announcement means there isn’t more money, and Levy said the school will work with additional cuts in the coming years.
“Everyone is now assessing what that means. We know for next year the government is going to take an additional one per cent [from grants], so it’s a two per cent [budget cut], and there will be three per cent fees,” Levy said.
The Globe and Mail reports a COU letter to Duguid outlined a loss of $48 million next year for universities due to the cap, and a total loss of $459 million over four years.
The cap came as no surprise to universities says University of Guelph president and COU chair Alastair Summerlee.
“I don’t think anybody is particularly happy but no one is surprised either,” Summerlee.
“Students have been advocating a freeze, advocacy groups… we knew there was a lot of pressure[on the minister].” But Melissa Palermo, Ryerson Students’ Union vice-president education, isn’t satisfied with the cap.
“I think it’s important to recognize this as an increase. Current rates are really not sustainable for post-secondary education,” she said.
Fourth-year business student Jennifer Lee agrees.
“Students have very limited income. If this tuition keeps going up, I will have to sacrifice my class for work,” Lee said.
The RSU will host a rally for lower tuition fees outside of Jorgenson Hall April 4 at noon.