Bring out the cheque-books
By Mark Brown
Western's Board of Governors were told last night how tuition levels are set, as the administration is preparing to decide if it will increase tuition in deregulated programs for next year.
Paul Davenport, president of the university, was requested to make the presentation to the Board last night to update members on the procedures and policies used to set tuition levels in the past.
"It was purely an information session," Davenport said. He added the key issues which have to be addressed are how to finance students while they are at Western and what financial position students will be in upon graduation.
Davenport told the Board, some of the factors for setting tuition fees are based on how expensive it is to operate a faculty and how much a graduating student can expect to earn.
Davenport said he wants to ensure fair access to students, but recognized some students still might have some difficulties financially.
University Students' Council President Ian Armour said the administration will be looking at an increase in tuition for deregulated programs, since the university does have a tight budget.
This year, deregulated programs such as dentistry and medicine are the only programs facing unknown increases, since a tuition increase for undergraduate programs of 9.8 per cent for next year has already been approved, Armour said.
Davenport also presented the Board with a graph which showed that medical and dental students currently pay 11.1 per cent of their tuition, while students in social science pay 51.3 per cent of their tuition. "We have to ask what is a fair balance," he said.
Nick Iozzo, USC VP-education, said he believes there is not enough accountability in the process. Iozzo explained the Campus and Community Affairs Committee and Property and Finance Committee set tuition levels but they both have closed sessions when they deliberate.
"Students don't have access to those two committees," Iozzo said. He added the students who sit on those committees are sworn to confidentiality so they are unable to report to their constituents.
Still, the university feels it has already become more accountable to students because the university has to demonstrate how the program will improve before tuition can be increased. "We are now in a pattern where every year we show our accountability," Davenport said.
He added the university will be including information about income and employment statistics about students graduating from Western, as part of the information books given to high school students.