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Louie Villanueva

University reverses tuition increases

By Fabian Mayer, July 16 —

All tuition increases approved last year have been reversed. This includes both the inflation-tied 2.2 per cent increase for all courses and the three faculty-specific market modifier hikes for law, engineering and MBA programs.

The University of Calgary Board of Governors voted unanimously for the move after the NDP government restored post-secondary funding in the summer session of the legislature. Funding had been cut in 2013 and the spring of 2015 by PC governments. The NDP have also said they will implement a two-year tuition freeze.

Students’ Union president Levi Nilson sits on the Board of Governors. According to Nilson, the board was unsure whether it was required by law to reverse the increases.

“It was just good governance. All indications were that institutions were going to have to set their tuition back to 2014–15 levels. They were just being proactive in getting that motion off the books,” Nilson said.

Students who have taken classes after the increases went into effect on May 1, 2015, will receive refunds for the increased rates. Nilson and the SU have been lobbying against the market modifier increases since they were announced in the fall of 2014.

“I’m just glad that it’s finally done,” Nilson said. “We can be happy that nobody’s going to be paying any more tuition fees than they did last year.”

He argues that the SU’s advocacy played a big role in reversing tuition increases.

“For the NDP to put this specific tuition proposal in their campaign platform was a direct result of our lobbying,” Nilson said.

However, Nilson worries the temporary freeze may result in massive increases when the freeze is lifted. A four-year tuition freeze in Saskatchewan was followed by some of the largest tuition hikes in the country.

“We have to make sure that there’s a sustainable solution in place because we’ve seen it happen in other provinces,” Nilson said.

The NDP has promised to consult with students and other stakeholders on how tuition should be regulated in the province moving forward.

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