University of Calgary exploring potential tuition hikes for professional programs

Click to play video: 'University of Calgary Students’ Union bracing for potential tuition hike' University of Calgary Students’ Union bracing for potential tuition hike
WATCH: Domestic and international first-year students heading into some professional programs at the University of Calgary could be facing steep increases in their tuition prices come 2022. As Matthew Conrod reports, the students’ union is concerned this is only going to make a tough situation worse for students – May 19, 2021

Getting an education at the University of Calgary could soon mean digging deeper into your pockets.

The university says it’s looking at raising tuition for students in professional programs in the business, medical and engineering fields that would take effect in 2022.

For students getting their MBA, they could be hit with a tuition hike of 25 per cent. Students in the medical doctor program could see an increase of nearly 16 per cent.

For engineering, first-year domestic students may be looking at an additional 32 per cent hike, while international students could be facing a hike of over 51 per cent. International students in the master of engineering program could be facing an increase of 35 per cent.

Read more: Alberta budget 2021: Alberta universities eyeing tuition hikes, campus changes as funding model evolves

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Under Alberta’s tuition framework, program-specific tuition fee increases are capped at 10 per cent for domestic students, and anything above would be considered exceptional, meaning the U of C would need approval from the Ministry of Advanced Education before the fees could take effect. The university says tuition fee increases for international students are not considered exceptional.

In a statement to Global News, the university said: “Exceptional tuition increases are intended to ensure continued educational quality in high demand programs by offsetting the impact of recent provincial budget reductions.”

The president of the students’ union says university administration provided details about their proposal on Tuesday, but with exam period already finished, the timing is questionable.

“Many students are on summer break and they’re unaware of these potential increases,” said Nicole Schmidt. “We think that this was potentially a planned move on the part of the university to get less response from students on these exceptional tuition increases.”

Read more: Alberta budget 2021 promises more help for COVID-19 with $18B deficit

Schmidt said the current economic situation in Alberta has already made life difficult for students, and these potential tuition hikes only make matters worse.

“If the university administration is looking to put students further into debt, they’re on the right track,” Schmidt said.

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In a statement, the ministry said it has not received any documentation from the U of C thus far, and that “Alberta’s government is committed to ensuring that post-secondary education remains accessible and thoroughly evaluates the potential implications of any exceptional tuition increase proposal that is received to ensure that our post-secondary programs can continue to meet the needs of our students while supporting our institutions.”

The university has until June 30 to submit its proposal.

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