Uncontrolled tuition soars
BY SABRINA CARINCI
Western students may get a slap in the face with the arrival of their tuition fee bills this summer due to a recent Ontario Government announcement on deregulation.
The Ministry of Education and Training announced May 6 which programs they would deregulate, allowing Ontario colleges and universities to set their own tuition fees on undergraduate programs which are deemed professional.
These programs include dentistry, law, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine and honours business administration.
Orthodontics, HBA, medicine and dentistry would be the hardest hit programs, whereas law would be one of the lowest increases at five per cent.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Education and Training, Daniele Gauvin, said the decision to deregulate tuition was based on several reasons. These included trying to make more spaces in the science, technology-based and engineering programs and forcing colleges and universities to come up with quality improvement plans.
Ian Armour, president of the University Students' Council, said he has serious concerns about the deregulation of tuition especially the negative message it will send to current and potential students.
Armour also questioned the quality of future students, saying wealthy students are not necessarily the best students. "It surprises me that the university is not concerned with the quality of their students," Armour said.
Greg Moran, Western's VP-academic, said the university's rationale behind the fee increases, is the need to maintain the current quality of education. "That's what it's all about," he said.
"We've made a huge commitment to student aid," Moran said, adding approximately three years ago less than $1 million was available for student aid, as opposed to next year's allocation of $6.5 million.
Despite these efforts, Armour still believed high debt loads will deter students from completing their degrees at Western.
Moran, on the other hand, said students with degrees in various high-demand professions such as medicine will realize they did not pay an unreasonable amount of money for their education, once they have entered the workforce.
Michael Rossi, a graduating HBA student, said the extent of some tuition increases are shocking and especially unfair to students having come to Western unaware of the talks about tuition increases.
Tuition Tuition Per cent
97-98 98-99 Increase
Orthodontics 1,912 4,667 144.1
HBA 3,808 8,000 110.1
Medicine (M.D.) 4,844 10,000 106.4
Dentistry 8,844 14,000 58.3
Medicine (Family) 1,912 2,500 30.8