BC tuition to rise up against influx
By Stephanie Cesca
Students who are thinking about applying or transferring to university in British Columbia from other provinces may pay higher tuition costs despite a 1995 tuition freeze.
Although differential tuition for out-of-province students has not yet been implemented, it is a possibility. Tara Wilson, communications officer for the Ministry of Advanced Education in BC, said Ontario's alarming tuition increases have concerned BC's Education Minister Andrew Petter about the potential influx of students wishing to attend West Coast universities.
"We just started to monitor the situation," Wilson said. "As of right now we welcome out-of-province students. However, if Ontario tuition fees keep rising at this rate, it may be a situation where out-of-province students may have to be controlled."
Presently, only five to 10 per cent of students are attending universities outside of their province which, according to Wilson, is not a statistic that causes any amount of alarm.
"Our whole point with this has been that we don't want to implement differential tuition," Wilson added.
Greg Moran, VP-academic at Western, said since this is such a recent issue, it is difficult to tell whether or not an increased number of Ontario students attending out-of-province universities would be detrimental to Ontario university enrolment.
"Right now enrolment is strong in the provinces," Moran said. "But if it becomes a problem, Ontario universities are going to have to work much harder."
Nick Iozzo, University Students' Council VP-education, said this is not necessarily an issue about fees, but more of a fundamental issue about setting different fees for different students.
"Are we only looking at who can afford quality education or at who is the best qualified?" Iozzo asked.
Vivian Hoffmann, president of the Alma Mater Society at the University of British Columbia, says she does not agree with differential tuition at her university.
"I don't think we should have it in BC," Hoffmann said. "But I know why they would be considering it since Ontario tuition is skyrocketing."
In an effort to avoid the problem of students heading out west for a cheaper education, Wilson suggests regulating tuition in provinces such as Ontario.
"What we need is some type of federal legislation that regulates tuition fees," she said.
Moran also noted that the travelling expenses necessary to live out west and that financial aid is always an option.