FREDERICTON, N.B. 一 This morning St. Thomas University released their operating budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The St. Thomas University Students’ Union (STUSU) is disappointed to see that this budget includes a two per cent increase to tuition for domestic students and a five per cent increase to tuition for international students. In addition to this, residence room rates are increasing two per cent and meal plan fees are increasing by 3.2 per cent.

These tuition increases equate to a $132.86 increase to domestic students’ tuition and a $725.15 increase to international students’ tuition.

“As representatives of students, the STUSU is acutely aware of the financial difficulties students face and how these types of increases directly affect the lives of students. As a result, the STUSU entirely opposes the increases to tuition in this year’s budget,” said Emma Walsh, STUSU Vice-President Education.

The STUSU recognizes the university’s difficult financial situation, particularly with the inequity in STU’s operating government grant. We continue to support the university’s efforts in calling upon the provincial government to address this inequity in the grant.

However, we remain particularly concerned about the substantive increases to international students’ tuition, which is already far higher than domestic students’ tuition. This is also paired with the fact that international students’ tuition is not regulated the same way that it is for domestic students.

Though other universities may have much higher tuition for international students in comparison to STU, we strongly encourage the university not to adopt an attitude that these valuable students are merely financially beneficial for the institution.

“There is a common misconception in the postsecondary education sector that international students come from wealthy backgrounds. However, in reality, this is not the case. Though STU presents itself as an affordable and high-quality option for these students, tuition increases like this hinder their ability to properly cost out their education and achieve their goals,” said Husoni Raymond, STUSU Vice-President Administration.

The STUSU looks forward to working with the university in the upcoming year to improve consultation processes surrounding tuition increases. We also hope to work with the university toward ensuring that there is increased financial support for international students, who do not have access to the same financial aid that domestic students do.

“In addition to more concrete consultations processes and financial support, we continue to urge the university to develop a stable and predictable tuition model. For example, with this year’s increase, a fourth-year international student will pay $1,843.15 more in tuition than they paid in their first year. This is a significant increase that many students may not have be able to plan for,” said Brianna Workman, STUSU President.

The STUSU would like to see the introduction of a predictable and stable tuition schedules for all students, both international and domestic. This is especially pertinent given the university’s budgeting process timeline. With this timeline, tuition increases tend to be announced when students are not present on campus, which further reduces their ability to adapt to any changes that are made.

By introducing tuition schedules, the university will assist in mitigating the problems associated with sudden and unaccounted for increases in tuition, and allow students to achieve further financial autonomy while in-study.

 

The St. Thomas University Students’ Union (STUSU) was established over 75 years ago and represents the interests of all students at St. Thomas University.

 

Media Contact: Brianna Workman, STUSU President, su_president@stu.ca, 506-460-0303.

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