FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Calgary, Alberta – December 20, 2019
AUGSA’s response to Athabasca University tuition increase
The Government of Alberta released its budget this past October, which outlined cuts to post-secondary education impacting students, including reductions to Athabasca University’s (AU) institutional funding. At the same time, the Government of Alberta lifted a tuition freeze allowing post-secondary institutions to increase tuition up to 7% per year, for the next three years, to a maximum of 21%. On December 13th, the Athabasca University Board of Governors approved a 7% tuition increase, scheduled to take effect in September 2020.
The Athabasca University Graduate Students’ Association (AUGSA) and the Athabasca University Students’ Union (AUSU) stood united in opposition of the tuition increase, voicing concerns over the negative impact the rising cost of education will have on both graduate and undergraduate students. While a tuition increase is understandable given the shifting landscape in the post-secondary sector, imposing the maximum allowable increase of 7% on students was met with disappointment in the University from AUGSA and AUSU student representatives. This is in respect to the tuition increase but also the student consultation on the proposed tuition increase, as outlined in the Alberta Tuition and Fees Regulation. If you have questions or inquiries regarding the details of the tuition increase, we ask that you please reach out to the University Information Center at 1-800-788-9041.
Looking ahead, AUGSA is committed to working in collaboration with the University, as well as advocating at the provincial and federal government, to continually improve the student experience and address student needs. In addition to advocacy on financial supports for students, part of this commitment will be dedicating efforts to improving the value of the student consultation process undertaken by post-secondary institutions on tuition increases.
In anticipation and in light of these changes, along with uncertainty regarding the impact on students over the next few years, the AUGSA Council has approved doubling the AUGSA financial aid portfolio of bursaries and awards available to AU graduate students effective 2020. AUGSA’s goal is to directly assist in reducing financial barriers that current students may face as a result of heightened barriers surrounding affordability and access to education.
For more information on AUGSA or this press release, please visit our website or contact the media relations below.
Meaghan Sullivan President, AUGSA firstname.lastname@example.org
Ross Tyson Executive Director