BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – SFU students are calling for for a two-year tuition freeze. This comes as the university is set to hike fees this spring.
The board of governors is looking at a proposed two per cent tuition increase for domestic undergraduate students and an up to 20 per cent hike for international students.
On Monday, SFU students gathered at the Burnaby campus to speak out against the move one last time before the budget is voted on this Thursday.
SFU Tuition Freeze Now, a student organization protesting the budget, is demanding the university become more transparent with fee increases and do a better job collaborating with students.
Co-organizer Annie Bhuiyan thinks the proposed increase for international students is unfair. “Education, I think should be available for everyone, and I think tuition is a barrier to that.”
Bhuiyan says as a student she feels like she is “left in the dark” when her university makes decisions without informing students.
“We’re the students, we’re being impacted by this. Why can’t we have a say in where this money is headed?”
On Thursday, Tuition Freeze Now hopes the SFU board of governors votes against the proposed hikes and will push the province to provide more funding.
But according Martin Pochurko, SFU’s vice-president of Finance & Administration, the province has already been helpful to the university.
“I think it’s important to understand that the provincial government actually has been quite supportive in the past with funding for various initiatives. I think that’s where it becomes a conversation about public policy, and we probably aren’t in the best position to have that conversation,” he said.
Pochurko says the tuition increase comes at a time when the university saw an $11-million shortfall. The first approach was to find cost efficiencies and to look at tuition to bridge any remaining gap.
He says while the university is aware some students are unhappy with the increase, it did try to provide them with as much information as possible.
“We understand that there’s a push for increased information, but we have been quite transparent on the approach that we’re going to take towards the budget,” he added.
Full details on the fee increases won’t be available to students until the Board of Governors approves the proposal Thursday.