University of Alberta Students Protest Proposed Tuition Hikes — Thousands of students demand that Board of Governors vote NO on proposed tuition increasesNews Staff - Fri Mar 24, 2023
(EDMONTON — March 24, 2022) — Today, students at the University of Alberta gather to protest a proposed fourth round of tuition increases. The University of Alberta Students' Union (UASU) and the Graduate Students' Association (GSA) are gathering to protest a culmination of years of severe tuition hikes that have impacted domestic and international students from all faculties.
The rise in tuition fees has made it increasingly difficult for students to afford basic necessities like rent, food, textbooks, and mental health care, forcing many to work multiple jobs while studying. Despite repeated requests to keep tuition increases to a minimum, the University has consistently chosen to raise fees by the maximum possible amount, creating a significant and unprecedented financial burden for students.
“If the Board of Governors chooses the maximum possible increase again today, base domestic tuition will have increased by 29% over four years, and much more for several faculties," says UASU President Abner Monteiro. “This is unacceptable, and we need an end to unsustainable and destructive hikes. Students deserve the opportunity to bounce back with dignity. We are, by every measure, not doing well.”
Tuition hikes inflict real harm on students' lives and education. The increasing demand for mental health services and campus food banks is a direct consequence of the tuition increases, and the trend will only continue if the University continues on this path. The rising cost of education has a deep and meaningful impact on a student's quality of life. The reality is that many students face traumatic food insecurity, with one in six students being severely food insecure by Health Canada standards, and the use of Campus Food Bank has tripled in the last year and a half.
“Many students are struggling to get by, and the University's actions are not helping them,” says GSA VP Academic Bishoi Aziz. “We need the Board of Governors to hear us and vote no. An open letter and a grassroots petition each collected two thousand signatures against these increases. Students not only deserve but desperately need better.”
Most recently, the University of Alberta Board of Governors has been granted permission to free up $39 million in investments next year, which is more than double what the University will make from the proposed tuition hikes. Therefore, many students, staff and faculty believe there is no need to raise tuition, as the institution has the immediate resources to meet its current financial responsibilities without placing the burden on students.
Today's protest is a clear message to the University that students are tired of their needs being ignored. We demand affordable tuition, quality education, and consultation that puts student feedback into practice. The Board of Governors has a choice to make, and many students hope that Board members will exercise courage and good judgment today, instead of maximizing students' financial burdens.
"We urge the University to consider the well-being of its students and prioritize a healthy community over financial comfort," says UASU VP Student Life Joannie Fogue. "Our message is clear: we are paying close attention, students deserve better, and we hope the U of A makes the right choice this time.”
About the University of Alberta Students’ Union
The UASU is the official representative of 35,000 undergraduate students at the University of Alberta. It advocates for students’ needs and priorities to the University of Alberta and at all levels of government.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
External Relations Specialist
University of Alberta Students’ Union