Volume 9, Number 18 May 24, 2002

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$230.5m budget boosts scholarships, bursaries & student computing

— Tuitions hiked to national norms —

The Board of Governors has set a balanced budget of $230.5 million for the U of S for 2002-03 – with a hike in most tuitions, and much of the extra money going to scholarships, bursaries, student computing, and a new student information records system.

At a May 10 news conference after the Board made its decision, President Peter MacKinnon told reporters the tuition increases are necessary to give the U of S the resources it needs to be nationally and internationally competitive for quality students and faculty.

He said this year’s hike is “the second and final adjustment” which, combined with the 15-per-cent across-the-board tuition increase last year, takes all 14 U of S colleges’ tuitions to national norm levels.

This year’s $230.5-million budget is up $13.5 million, or 6.2 per cent, from the University’s 2001-02 budget of $217 million.  The bulk of the increase in revenue is made up of $7 million more in grants, adjustments, and targeted program funding from the provincial government, and $6.43 million from the tuition increases.

To reach national tuition norms, the adjustments to U of S college tuitions this year range from a cut of 16.6 per cent in Physical Therapy (the only decrease), to a hike of 27.6 per cent in Law.  Other increases included 7.2 per cent in Arts, 4.4 per cent in Agriculture, 1.3 per cent in Engineering, 9.1 per cent in Nursing, and 18.5 per cent in Medicine.  New tuition levels include: $4,218 in Arts, $4,316 in Education, $4,502 in Commerce, $4,924 in Engineering, 5,681 in Law, and $9,205 in Medicine.

MacKinnon noted the new tuition levels now include students’ computer lab fees, which will give some tax-deduction help to students.

At the news conference new U of S Students’ Union President Craig Stehr blasted the tuition hike, saying it “really is distressing for students”.

He said it means that the Ontario government and universities, with their deregulation and rapid increases, are now setting U of S tuitions, since they drive national norm levels.

Stehr said the higher tuitions here will mean more students will head to Alberta and B.C. – and he added the increased U of S scholarships and bursaries aren’t enough to stem the tide.

“It’s very saddening that the level of student assistance in this province will not provide much assistance for students facing these tuition increases,” he said.

MacKinnon told reporters the U of S will make major increases this year to graduate student scholarships and undergraduate scholarships and bursaries.  It will add $1 million for grad scholarships (see story on this page), and it will add $300,000 for undergrads, for the following:

  • $100,000 for scholarships, spread among all colleges based on enrolment.
  • $100,000 for a fund to give Saskatchewan students bursaries so that high-cost health science education isn’t out of reach for them.
  • $50,000 for “access bursaries” for economically disadvantaged students.
  • $50,000 to go towards matching funds for athletic awards.

MacKinnon said a total of $1.87 million will go to information technology developments – $1.15 million to begin the 10-year development of a major new Student Information System, and $720,000 for more student computing access and service.

“I’m pleased about all these initiatives, but they’re really only a first step,” MacKinnon told the May 10 news conference.

“They constitute an important step in achieving our objectives”, to be a nationally and internationally competitive university.

To do these things, and to do even more, MacKinnon said it has been necessary to end the U of S’s traditional low-tuition policy and move to national norms.

“In part because of our low-tuition policy of the past, we didn’t offer some of the student services we should have.”  He told the news conference this year’s budget is an attempt to begin to offer a higher level of student services.

“We would have loved to have put more into scholarships and bursaries (this year),” MacKinnon said – but because the provincial government provided a 2.3-per-cent basic operating budget increase instead of the 5.7-per-cent the University asked for to cover basic costs, “we have scaled back some of our ambitions”.

“We would be greatly assisted by a major reinvestment in post-secondary education,” he told reporters.

“We need resources commensurate with our responsibilities.”

For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca

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