UBC welcomes autonomy over tuition fees

Officials at the University of British Columbia support the recent
decision to lift a six-year freeze on tuition fees, saying it will
benefit students by providing a higher quality education.

"I want to thank the provincial government for restoring the
traditional autonomy that B.C. university boards have enjoyed in
determining the level of fees required to produce the best educational
experience for the province’s future generations," UBC
President Martha Piper said today.

The provincial government, following consultation with university
administrators, students and other stakeholders, announced on Monday
that it will lift a freeze on tuition introduced in 1996. Prior
to that year, the boards of universities determined fee structures
in line with their academic missions.

As a result of the tuition freeze, B.C.’s universities have
fallen behind the national average — in the case of Arts undergraduates,
by approximately $1,400 per year. Consequently, higher student/teacher
ratios, larger classroom sizes and under-resourced lab and classroom
facilities have impacted students.

Brian Sullivan, UBC’s vice-president, Students, said any future
fee increases will be used to improve the quality of education.

"UBC is in discussion with students on a range of issues arising
from the restoration of fee-setting to the university’s Board
of Governors," he said.

"Our discussions are addressing issues of quality and affordability.
We will not turn away qualified students on the basis of financial
need and we will ensure that a portion of the tuition fee increase
— between 15 and 30 per cent, allowing for a flexible approach
suited to needs — will go to student financial assistance."

Further details on any future tuition fee increases at UBC will
depend on the outcome of these discussions and forthcoming legislation
to restore institutions’ autonomy over tuition fee decisions.