While the COVID-19 pandemic made dramatic changes to their post-secondary experience in the 2020-21 sessions, students hoping to return to on-campus classes this fall will be faced with increased fees.
In a statement provided to Global News, USask said there will be an average increase of 3.9 per cent for undergraduate students and a five per cent increase for graduate students.
“Moving to remote academic delivery and building contingencies to ensure program delivery access meets all government health and safety directives, has added significant cost pressures to the university,” said USask provost and vice-president academic Airini.
“Additional investments in student supports, course development, remote teaching technologies, safety equipment and software licenses are examples of increased costs, while many revenue-generating units have halted operations due to the current campus closure.”
University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union president Tasnim Jaisee said while she and other students are optimistic about the return to on-campus learning come the fall semester the news of another tuition increase is disappointing.
“Affordability continues to be a concern,” Jaisee said. “It’s one of the main barriers to accessing post-secondary education.”
She is currently getting a double degree in political sciences. Jaisee said in only one of her years at the university has tuition not gone up. That was in 2020, a situation students were hoping for this year as well.
“Spending a whole year online has put a lot of mental health stress on students, unfortunately, this news is discouraging for all of us,” Jaisee added.
Jaisee said the announcement has been met with a lot of questions and concerns from students and a lot of consultation is needed.
She said they will continue to have important discussions with the University Student Councils’ student committees and societies as well as the university administrative teams on tuition talks for the upcoming year and for the future.
Jaisee explained to Global News the average person would be paying at least $200 more in tuition costs come the fall.
The university concluded in their statement, “USask’s decisions about tuition are made in response to our context while ensuring that our programs, student supports, and reaching methodologies remain among the best in Canada.”
The full statement can be found on the USask website.
As for on-campus learning, the university has said its goal is for more in-person learning come the fall semesters, hinged on the status of the pandemic.