EDITORIAL: A million reasons
Students can support funding their own futures today.
In the first open meeting of its kind, promised after the UWO Act was debated last fall, the campus and community affairs committee will hear University Students' Council President Dave Tompkins explain why there should be a student endowment fund initiative.
Presently, every full-time student at Western pays a $50 support fee to Western. Tompkins will recommend the committee ask the Board of Governors to eliminate the current student support fee on the condition that the USC establish an additional $50 endowment fee.
The council would endow the money to the university but would have directional control over where a portion of the funds would go. The interest would be spent on scholarships for students and would grow every year.
The beauty of the plan is that the provincial government will meet any donations as part of its Student Opportunity Trust Fund for the first three years of the program. The USC would collect about $1 million the first year but it would be doubled without additional cost to students, as they are already paying the $50 in student support fees.
The idea of starting the fund was the brainchild of Tompkins, who met with Western's senior administration about the idea in January. They turned down his proposal, probably because the province did not increase tuition as much as they had hoped and eliminating the student support fee will take $1 million from the university's operating budget.
After protesting tuition increases among other grievances and staging a virtual sit-in, the students' council is going to try once again to get the administration to sway on this one.
It's a really superb plan.
As $1 million is added to the fund every year, the interest will grow at a rapid pace and there will be more money for scholarships every year. The potential scholarship pot in 20 or 30 years would be huge.
Payment into a student fund for students is a rather unique idea. For once, students can do something to help ease the burden of tuition costs and student debt.
So now, Western students, you can show up to the meeting at 5 p.m. in the Stevenson-Lawson Building today and support the fund. You can have a say in your futures and come out en masse. You can make a statement in numbers.
Or, you can read about the decision in the paper tomorrow.
The choice is yours alone. But its a choice that could impact many future students at this university. It's a choice that has a dollar value.
It's a $1 million-and-counting kind of choice.