MRU proposing significant tuition hikes
Students marched around MRU to hold government accountable for broken promises in light of proposed market modifiers
Despite concerns and questions raised by students at a consultation on Oct. 2, plans are being made for a market modifiers application to go in Oct. 15.
David Docherty, President of Mount Royal University, said that the numbers have moved based on the input that they have had.
Originally the potential numbers were $778 for Business Administration, from MRU’s current rate of $494, and $539 for both Science and Nursing from their current $494.
He confirmed that the projected prices are now a $150 increase to Business, a $100 increase to Nursing and a $50 increase to Science, per course.
“We did as much as we could in parallel to the consultations,” said Docherty.
Docherty said that the biggest issue was that there wasn’t enough time.
“We didn’t come up with the Oct. 15 deadline to submit the market modifiers. That is the date that the province had given,” said Docherty.
“We have been listening, during the consultation, and I have been listening to faculty and I have been listening to students.”
“We’ve tried to modify our proposed modifiers as a result of that.”
This increase will make the MRU’s Nursing program the most expensive in Alberta.
“I think that we have one of the best nursing programs in the country, high demand for the program, our nurses are highly employable and the costs of running such a program are higher so we have to make sure that we can maintain the sustained quality of these programs,” said Docherty.
However, Erik Queenan, SAMRU President, said that he does not believe that the market modifiers will reflect on the quality of education offered.
“The whole point of a market modifier is to match the market,” said Queenan. “So this is not aimed at balancing out the cost of a more expensive program.”
Queenan explained that past market modifiers, such as the ones to the University of Calgary in 2010, did not change the quality of education.
“History repeats itself and I truly believe that there won’t be a concerted effort to put the extra money that comes from these programs back into them. I think that it is just going to get put into the tuition fund,” said Queenan.
Queenan and the Students’ Council attended the protest that was organized by students Laurie Gaal and Jenny West. Students chanted “the students united will never be defeated” as they circled campus before gathering at the East Gate entrance for their rally.
“Why does this keep happening to us?” Laurie Gaal, asked the crowd at the protest in east gate. “We keep on getting promises of funding from the government and then we don’t get it.”
When MRU became a university in 2009, a $13 million dollar grant was promised but was never received. Then, in 2011, the provincial government promised a 2 per cent increase in provincial funding, which was never received. Instead, a 7.3 per cent cut to funding in 2013 during the Alberta-wide post-secondary budget cuts.
Today, the university is facing a $16 million dollar deficit.
“Just because Mount Royal University is a new university does not mean that it should not get the money that it deserves,” said Gaal.
Students’ Council manned a stand on Main Street, providing letter templates to students to send to Minister Don Scott. They are gathering as many letters as possible from students.
“We are doing this to inform the government that Mount Royal has been underfunded since it became a university and we need to address these discrepancies,” said Zoe Slusar, VP of Student Life.
The booth will be set up again on Oct. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for students to sign a letter and give it to Students’ Council.
Students are also encouraged to come to the SAMRU office on the second floor of Wyckham if they would like to receive the letter template or drop off their own letter, whether from the template or of their own design, to VP External Seija Roggeveen.
“We want to send a message to the government that education does matter. We matter. Our future matters,” said Gaal.