Students, rejoice — the Alberta government announced Wednesday they would freeze tuition until the end of this academic year. Now, tuition only costs you an arm and a leg instead of that and all your organs!
Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt announced the freeze at the Students’ Union Building of the University of Alberta main campus.
The main point of the continuation of the freeze for a third consecutive year was to “examine the current funding model for the post-secondary sector,” Schmidt said. He hoped a part of this examination would come through student feedback — the feedback is given through an extension of the Alberta government website.
Four members of MacEwan’s executive committee were in attendance. Carley Casebeer, vice-president external, was glad to hear about the continuation of the freeze. “This was something that was promised to students when they (the NDP government) were first elected, and we’re really excited to see movement on it now,” she said.
Casebeer said implementing the student perspective was an important measure to have in examining and suggesting improvements to the current state of the model. “We’re really looking forward to having that student voice in with the consultation,” she said, in order to “make sure that our ideas are heard, and that we do get the best system for the students.”
Hachem El-Sayed, a student at the University of Alberta, also had a few words to say on the reality of the student experience in modern times.
“What you really do as a student is much, much closer to a full-time job,” Sayed said. “Between the going to classes, and between the reviewing and the assignments … you’re actually looking at over 40 hours a week, on an average good student.”
Sayed also talked about the pressure the financial burden of university can put on a person on almost a daily basis. According to Sayed, these burdens often lead to difficult choices involving essential course materials. “The choices we have to make, when looking at the vast sums we have to pay … sometimes, $610 is the difference between ‘do you want that book, or do you want to pay rent?’”
Ultimately, Schmidt and the NDP government saw the move as a necessary means of sustaining education, and said placing an emphasis on affordable education was an important strategy for securing and providing future jobs.
“We saw this not as a cost, but as an investment … an investment in making education more affordable, so more of you could pursue your education in your future,” he said. “It was also an investment in the future of Alberta, because education is the cornerstone of the healthy economy.”
Those wanting to provide feedback on the tuition consultation can do so by visiting this website. Feedback must be provided between Oct. 19 – Nov. 30.