University of Alberta Students’ Union opposes unfair tuition hikes for international students

News Staff - Fri Jun 14, 2019

Edmonton, AB - Earlier today, the University of Alberta Board of Governors voted, over objections from Students’ Union representatives, to implement new program-based tuition rates for incoming international students beginning in the 2020-2021 academic year. Depending on the program, the university’s own numbers show that the new rates will see international students pay anywhere from 6% to 11% more compared to the old model. In most cases, these changes will result in additional tuition costs of $10,000 or more for each degree completed by an international student.

“This proposal simply amounts to the continued exploitation of international students who choose to study here at the University of Alberta,” said Students’ Union President Akanksha Bhatnagar, who advocated and voted against the new tuition rates at the Board of Governors meeting. “We know that many international students already have to put themselves into precarious financial circumstances in order to receive a high-quality education here, and the proposal that the Board approved today will make that problem even worse.”

University administration created the proposal in response to Bill 19, which required that post-secondary institutions give international students an up-front guarantee of the total cost of their program at their time of admission. Tuition rates for incoming cohorts of international students will be set annually, without limits on how much tuition can be further increased by in a given year.

“It really is a shame that the university decided to use elements of Bill 19 as a pretext to hike tuition rates for international students. It’s such a steep price for predictability,” Bhatnagar continued. “These students already pay heavily increased costs for their education, and lack access to many forms of financial aid. International students add immense value to our community and deserve tuition that is both as predictable and affordable as possible. That is not what they are getting from their university today.”

The Students’ Union is the official representative of more than 32,000 undergraduate students at the University of Alberta.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact:

Robert Nelson
External Advocacy Advisor
University of Alberta Students’ Union

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