May 26, 2016 5:13 pm

Student union unhappy over UNB budget, tuition increases

WATCH ABOVE: The University of New Brunswick is running a deficit and says increasing rates for all students was a difficult yet necessary decision. Global’s Jeremy Keefe reports.

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The University of New Brunswick’s 2016-2017 operating budget has drawn the ire of its student union due to tuition increases across the board.

Canadian students will pay five per cent more for tuition this year, with New Brunswickers receiving three per cent of that back through a tuition rebate.

READ MORE: New Brunswick government announces free tuition for low income students

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International students are the hardest hit as their rates have been hiked by ten per cent.

“This is very disappointing,” says Herbert Bempah, the University of New Brunswick Student Union’s vice president, internal. “We’re absolutely upset that the university continues to burden the students with their financial instability.”

“Over the years the university has increased tuition fees but this year it’s a very significant increase,” says Bempah.

In addition to the tuition increases, the budget also includes an increase in student aid and scholarships from $5.5 million to $9.3 million, spending reductions of $5.3 million and the continuation of a non-salary spending freeze.

READ MORE: Students removed from NB legislature over tuition, education cuts protest

“There were no tuition increases last year,” says Karen Cunningham, UNB’s administration and finance vice president. “But this year we did have to raise tuitions. And really, if we want to keep offering a quality education there aren’t any choices, I’m afraid.”

“We have a university to run and it has certain costs associated with it,” says Cunningham.

Still, the upcoming year’s budget won’t balance the books as the consolidated net deficit will remain at $2.6 million.

“We’re in the process of developing a longer-range plan,” says Cunningham. “Obviously the management and the board of governors are completely committed to getting back to balanced budgets but it doesn’t happen quickly.”

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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