Supporting biz cost
By Karena Walter
Western's plan to move its masters of business administration program to full-cost recovery now has the support of the provincial government.
Minister of Education and Training John Snobelen was on hand yesterday at the Richard Ivey School of Business Administration to discuss the new initiative.
"I am very pleased to be able to accept Western's proposal," Snobelen said. He stressed how a self-funded MBA program will mean tax-payers will not have to make contributions and extra funding assistance will be available for students. "That sounds to me like a win/win situation," he said.
The money saved by no longer subsidizing the program will be reinvested into the Ontario post-secondary education system. Currently the province pays 84 per cent of the cost per student while tuition fees cover the other 16 per cent.
Tuition for the two-year MBA program will rise from $3,186 to $18,000 a year by 2000-01. But Snobelen added MBA graduates from Western make an average of $80,000 a year and are in demand internationally.
The president-elect of the MBA association, Ed Nabrotzky, also spoke favourably of the announcement.
"I think the circumstances are very unique to the MBA," University Students' Council president Dave Tompkins said. "I was very concerned when Snobelen said this is only the beginning of things to come." Tompkins added he believes it would be dangerous for undergraduate programs to go to full-cost recovery and he said he has heard concerns from alumni that the idea may spread to other programs.
Although the government will examine other programs for possible privatization, Snobelen said it is not the climate for deregulation for the general student and the cost-recovery program is not suitable for all programs.
Larry Tapp, dean of the business school, said the school will make sure no qualified candidate is unable to attend the school because of tuition costs.
Tapp announced a new income-contingent financial package for all eligible candidates for the program. Students will be able to get a loan of up to 75 per cent of the previous year's average starting salary including signing bonus, which amounts to $66,000 for the 1997 class. The loans are being offered from leading financial institutions, Tapp said.
Western's president Paul Davenport said the goals of the school cannot be met without help from the province and was glad the government was supporting the cost-recovery initiative.