The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

Tuition costs more than cold hard cash

By in Opinions

Tuition

Tuition at the University of Saskatchewan continues to increase and university students continue to take it on the chin — but what are we getting for all of this extra money we’re paying?

The short answer to this question is a whole bunch of nothing. If anything, we’re paying more money and getting less classes offered from professors who are already stretched thin. If I’m going to be paying more for the same services, professors should at least have to learn our names — just saying.

Since 2010, average tuition at the U of S has gone up a cumulative total of 17.3 per cent according to an article in the StarPhoenix on Mar. 11 — 5.2 per cent in the 2010-11 school year, 3.2 per cent in the 2011-12 school year, 4.4 per cent in the 2012-13 school year and 4.5 per cent for this past 2013-14 year.

For the 2014-15 budget and rates, tuition is set to go up an average of 4.5 per cent depending on the college. The only college that isn’t seeing an increase is the College of Dentistry, whose students already pay over $30,000 a year in tuition. Yikes.

The average U of S student will be paying over 20 per cent more for this next year of school than what they paid back in 2010 for the same services and programs — assuming their programs haven’t been reduced or cut altogether. We are not getting anything for this extra cash and this needs to change.

Our university is slowly and surely chipping away at the projected deficit in 2016 of $44.5 million dollars by raising tuition and cutting hundreds of jobs and programs. Wait, why do we all still go here?

What in hell has the U of S done for its students in the last decade that’s of benefit to us? Sure, we are able to get the degrees we pay for and we get a subsidized bus pass — which we still pay for — but what are the benefits of going to an institution that doesn’t seem to truly value its clientele?

Generally speaking, the U of S offers a service to students. In this case, that service is a higher education necessary to enter many jobs and careers. While I won’t dispute the notion that higher learning has intrinsic value in itself, I will say that going to university would be a royal waste of time if a student wasn’t hoping to better him or herself for job prospects at the end of it.

In any other walk of life, if you were to become dissatisfied with the service you were receiving, you’d take your business elsewhere.

While I won’t speak for other students, I highly suspect that I’m not alone in feeling that this institution isn’t fulfilling all of my needs — nor does it seem to be willing to give students an incentive to stick around.

Isn’t it surely time that U of S students protested in some way? Even within the entire TransformUs process, students and faculty have tried time and time again to have their voices heard in order to ignite a change to save this sinking ship before we all drown — and have we seen changes? No.

Attending Town Hall meetings this year and last was so frustrating in that a student or professor would bring forth a compelling and legitimate point, only to have the facilitator or administrator say something to the effect of “we will talk more about this,” or “we need to think more on that.” The implied translations of both phrases can be summarized as “thanks for speaking, but we’re still going to do whatever we want because we have the power.”

Speaking of those who have power, the U of S actually receives the vast majority of its operating budget from the Government of Saskatchewan. Maybe this is more of an issue with the Wall government than it is one that has to do solely with our institution. Since the Saskatchewan Party has been in control, we haven’t had the tuition freeze that the NDP government previously had in place when Lorne Calvert was in charge.

Let’s stand up to those in power and make some changes around here. It’s all fine and dandy to have our University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union executives speaking out against tuition increases — because that makes them look like they’re actually doing their jobs — but are their words doing anything to change the inevitable? Nope. It’s all about publicity.

I vote we stop talking and actually take some action. They did it in Quebec, so there’s no reason why we can’t do it here.


Graphic: Cody Schumacher/Graphics Editor

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