CNC Students’ Union Attacks Tuition Increase
Prince George, B.C. – The chair of the CNC Students’ Union Executive Committee is criticizing the decision of the College of New Caledonia’s Board of Governors to raise tuitions and fees this August.
At its meeting Friday the board voted in favor of raising tuition and mandatory fees by 2% for courses and programs beginning August 1st, 2016. This after it noted that the college will have a budget surplus at the end of the 2015/16 fiscal year on March 31, 2016. This surplus is said to be due to greater than anticipated tuition revenues due to an unpredicted increase in enrollment.
However even with the surplus the governors voted for the tuition hike because, they say, the board cannot rely on an expected budget surplus again next year.
Nathan Giede, chair of the students’ union Executive Committee, says “we’re not happy with it. Obviously we’re very aware that 2% is both the max and, of course, more meant to deal with inflation in the fact that everybody increases their fees by 2%. But ultimately we disagree with it both in practice and in principle just because the funding model that we have from our government is just not sustainable. We need a funding model where students actually are properly provided for and their courses and tuition are properly provided for.”
“Increasing the fees on students is not the answer. Getting more students into programming, expanding the programming and making sure the government does its fair share, that would be the right solution. But that doesn’t sell at the polling station, so.”
Giede says the 2% increase affects students proportionally. “If you’re paying ten grand per year for your tuition and you see a 2% increase you’re going to feel that pinch whereas if you’re only taking a couple of courses a semester, it’s not going to be as strenuous. But again the Student Union and the student union movement is very clear that it’s up to the current BC government and whatever partnership they can find in the federal government, though education is a provincial purview, to make sure that courses and institutions are properly funded as a public service and a social good.”
Giede says “if I was to put my super cynical hat on what I would say is that the government in Victoria has a very good habit and a knack for dialing back the funding for anything and everything and then making sure that they bring in special envelopes for funding that used to be there, and that way they’re able to raise their profile.”
He adds “I highly suspect that it is more chicanery and political gain than it actually has ever really helped the sustainability of any institution. And it certainly is no good as a way forward when you need to know not just what your funding is going to look like, but again that the institution that you are supposedly using to benefit the public is being properly staffed and properly delivering the programming that is going to make the public better off.”
Final approval of the 2016/17 operating budget is expected at the April CNC board meeting.