Dentists get tuition ache
By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
Recent comments made by VP-academic Greg Moran at a Senate meeting indicate future tuition hikes for dentistry students may prove more painful than a root canal.
During a discussion on budget allocations in the Feb. 20 Senate meeting, Moran said the change in location of Western's School of Dentistry to St. Joseph's Health Centre could result in higher tuition fees.
"One of the things we've always said is the cost would be high to move and we may have to look at other ways of subsidizing it," Moran said. "We believe if the school is going to have healthy future, it will be sustained in part by student fees."
First-year tuition fees for dentistry are currently almost $9,000 but have been projected to ultimately go as high as $25,000.
The Council for the School of Dentistry held a feasibility vote on January 19 during which time the idea to move the school, currently located in the Dental Sciences Building, to St. Joseph's was presented and all members voted in favour.
"Raising tuition is not contingent on moving to another campus," said acting director for the school of dentistry Stanley Kogon. "Tuition would go up regardless if the move occurred or not."
Discussions between the parties have stepped up and they are now looking at the political and economic relationships involved. A decision on the move will be made within the next six months but renovations could take almost two years, Kogon said.
Some students were angered by the vote, believing it will only lead to tuition increases. "It is going to cost millions to move the school I don't see the government or university paying for it," said second-year dentistry student Christine Drouillard.
Drouillard has resigned from her position as a dentistry representative on the University Students' Council, upset the five student representatives on the dentistry council voted for the feasibility of the move.
Moran said tuition at the school will be higher regardless of the move because students who graduate from professional programs such as dentistry are better able to bear the burden of a greater debt load.
"Our tuition just keeps increasing that's something that is happening right now," said Dental Students' Society President Stephanie Schader, adding she hopes the administration will subsidize the move.