The University of Saskatchewan has announced a tuition freeze for the upcoming year to address the financial stress that students are facing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an email to students, Anthony Vannelli, provost and vice-president academic, outlines that the tuition freeze will address the impacts of the pandemic on students whether or not courses are delivered in-class or online in the upcoming academic year.
“We hope that by maintaining tuition levels at their current 2019-20 rates in the majority of our programs for the upcoming year, current financial pressures felt by students and their families may be reduced,” Vannelli said.
Student fees are currently being reviewed and assessed to be announced at a later date.
In an email to the Sheaf, Autumn LaRose-Smith, U of S Students’ Union president, says she is pleased by the announcement.
“The USSU believes students should not face academic or financial penalties due to these difficult times,” LaRose-Smith said. “Although financial resources will be needed to recover from this, it should not be done on the backs of students.”
The USSU executive has been meeting with the university administration for the past couple of months. LaRose-Smith wants students to know that the USSU is advocating for their interests.
“Students should know that we will continue to work on their behalf to ensure that they are represented at all levels of university decision making,” LaRose-Smith said.
The College of Law, the College of Dentistry and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine are still expecting to see tuition increases in the coming year.
“These tuition increases have been previously announced following broad consultation and reflect the specific needs of these respective programs,” Vannelli said.
Dentistry students will face a tuition hike of three per cent, law students will face an increase of seven per cent and veterinary medicine students are expecting a 15 per cent rise. Students of the Dental Assisting Certificate will be seeing a tuition hike of 16.2 per cent, even though Vannelli’s announcement only mentioned increases of up to 15 per cent.
Graduate students’ tuition rates and the international differential were expected to increase for 2020-21, but Vannelli states that these rates will remain the same for the time being.
The university administration has yet to make an announcement about the delivery of classes in the fall. Vannelli says that the university is committed to continue providing the same quality of education as before, despite the changes caused by COVID-19.
“This is an unprecedented time for members of our campus community, and the decisions we make help ensure U of S programs, student supports and teaching methodologies remain world-class,” Vannelli said. “The method of program delivery … does not change the high quality and exceptional value of a U of S degree.”
On May 29, the university announced the reviewed fees for the Fall Term in an email to students. Undergraduate students will see a decrease of $18 while graduate student fees will go up by $21.
Many of the previous fees remain the same for the Fall Term. Most services that are offered to students through the U of S and third-party organizations will continue to provide those services remotely.
The decreases are mostly coming out of the USSU infrastructure fee and the athletics and recreation fee, which will be decreased by 50 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively.
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