We$tern still tops
By Mark Brown
The impact of deregulation could hit students harder at Western than any other Ontario university for those entering the honours business administration or medical programs in September.
Under the new provincial government policy, universities are permitted to deregulate tuition for some programs by submitting a plan that will show how the university will double enrollment into a program by the 2003/04 academic year, said David Scott, Council of Ontario Universities spokesperson.
The programs most effected by deregulation at Western are dentistry, medicine, orthodontics and the HBA program. Western's medical program will cost new students $10,000 while the same program offered at Queen's University and the University of Toronto will cost $6,159 and $6,800 respectively.
Although McMaster University has not yet approved next year's fees for their medical program, Fred Hall, assistant VP-academic at McMaster, said students will probably pay close to the same amount as Western students.
Students enrolled in Western's HBA program will pay $8,000, while students enrolled in equivalent programs at Laurier, Carleton, Guelph, McMaster, Windsor, York and Queen's will pay between $3,500 and $3,700 or roughly the same fees as most other undergraduate programs at those schools.
The less expensive business program at Laurier has the second highest academic cut-off level in Ontario and is comparable to Western's business program, said Robert Roseheart, president of Laurier. "At the end of the day the debate will come back to the services of the program what kind of services are you providing to charge those fees?"
Western's VP-academic Greg Moran disagreed with Roseheart's comparison and said the reason there is a tuition difference is because Western's HBA program is the only second entry level undergraduate business program in Ontario. Many other universities are frustrated the government has not allowed them to increase their fees because students enter the program in their first year, Moran added.
The tuition hike in the deregulated programs will not impede access to Western, as students will have greater access to loans, bursaries and work-study programs, said Moran. "We would argue that a few thousand dollars should not be a big factor especially if we can offer aid."
Students are concerned they will have to look not only at the quality of the program being offered but the cost of the program and what they can afford, said Hoops Harrison, national director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations.
"Unfortunately this will lead to a two-tier system, you can already see it now," he said.