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Friday, October 16, 2015

UPDATED: King’s College asks to increase tuition and chill

University wants a three-year $1,000 tuition increase, unless it doesn't.

Posted By on Fri, Oct 16, 2015 at 3:10 PM

click to enlarge Hegel'ing over a price. - VIA WIKIPEDIA

Prices may be going up at the University of King’s College, but not until 2017.

Yesterday, the liberal arts university’s board of governors approved a request to ask the provincial government for a $1,000 tuition increase, phased in over three years. The decision passed 10-8, according to a release by King’s Students' Union.


In a statement from the College, director of advancement Adriane Abbott writes the school’s tuition committee strongly recommended no increase in tuition for King’s Foundation Year Programme, but the board felt otherwise the board agreed, but due to “a changed set of circumstances and opportunities as a result of numerous initiatives currently underway at the College" left open the possibility for future resets in the next three years.

As such, a “tuition reset” of up to $500 per year will be applied to the 2017/18 and 2018/19 school years if deemed necessary by the board of governors.

“The resolution is clear that the board has not decided upon a reset, and is recommending that there be no reset,” writes Abbott. “Nevertheless, the board agreed with the committee that the option should be open to a future president and board to consider.”



If approved, tuition fees at King’s will top out at $8,650 by 2018—a 24 percent increase over current rates.

"By pursuing this $1000 tuition fee increase, our board of governors has decided to further saddle King’s students with unsustainable debt and discourage low- and middle-income students from coming at all," KSU president Alex Bryant writes in a release. “This is a short term solution and a blatant cash grab from students who simply cannot afford it.”

The provincial NDP quickly issued a release condemning the news, calling it further proof the Liberal government made a mistake in allowing a one-time tuition fee increase for Nova Scotian universities.

“It's becoming increasingly hard for young people to stay in Nova Scotia," writes NDP MLA Dave Wilson. "The McNeil government cut the Graduate Retention Rebate and now tuition is increasing at the highest rate in the country."

Back in April the government lifted the three percent tuition cap for Nova Scotian universities and community colleges as part of the 2015-16 provincial budget, allowing a one-time “market adjustment."

According to numbers released this week by the Association of Atlantic Universities, overall undergraduate enrolment in the Atlantic provinces has dropped by two percent (or 1,276 students) from the last year. The University of King’s College saw an 8.4 percent drop in enrolment.

——— 


UPDATE: Adriane Abbott contacted me saying I misread King’s release, as saying the tuition committee and board of governors were both wholeheartedly against a tuition reset. In fact, the tuition committee appears to have been the ones recommending to the board of governors to allow for the potential for future increases of $500 per year in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 school years, if deemed necessary. I’ve altered the above text to reflect that fact.

That King’s says there will be no tuition increase, and the KSU says there is, seems to depend on how you look at the situation. King’s board of governors has not voted to reset tuition, but they have voted to allow for future resets in 2017 and 2018. This update hopefully clears up any misconceptions in the original article. Abbott’s emailed response is printed below, with her permission.

“Hi Jacob,  

I just read your ‘Reality Bites’ piece in reference to King’s College.      

What really bites is untrue statements masquerading as reality. And the sloppy journalism that reports and repeats them.  

You write:  

‘In a statement from the College, director of advancement Adriane Abbott writes the school’s tuition committee strongly recommended no increase in tuition for King’s Foundation Year Programme, but the board felt otherwise due to “a changed set of circumstances and opportunities as a result of numerous initiatives currently underway at the College.”’

  But the Board did not feel otherwise? I made no such implication? They voted NOT to reset tuition. The set of circumstances and opportunities as a result of numerous initiatives that currently underway are precisely why the Board is hopeful that it will never have to invoke a reset.  All they did was to bookmark a possibility should the they be wrong, and should a future board require every tool available.  

  And Alex Bryant may have written:  

  ‘“By pursuing this $1000 tuition fee increase, our board of governors has decided to further saddle King’s students with unsustainable debt and discourage low- and middle-income students from coming at all,” KSU president Alex Bryant writes in a release. “This is a short term solution and a blatant cash grab from students who simply cannot afford it.”’  

But the Board of Governors has made no such decision. Alex Bryant, and apparently the Coast, presume to know what the King’s Board of 2017-18 and 2018-19 will discuss and decide. And not only are they sure that the King’s Board will  invoke the reset two years from now, but they presume to know the figure upon which the Board will land should they discuss the issue.”

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