Volume 92, Issue 66

Tuesday, January 26, 1999


Editorial Board 1998-99

Privilege or a right

Editorial Cartoon

Privilege or a right

As general undergraduate tuition rates steadily increase, those for many of Western's graduate programs are anything but steady – in fact, they are flying through the roof.

After major increases in tuition for the 1998/99 school year in the dentistry, medicine and honours business administration programs, it has been announced that yet another sizeable increase will take place in the coming years for each of the aforementioned programs, making it even more difficult for students to pay their way through school.

Education has gone through its cyclical process and is once again acquiring an elitist flavour. The argument that raising tuition is justifiable because successful students will earn back the tuition money and then some, within their first few years in the professional world is deeply flawed.

The majority of students simply do not have the funds in the first place to pay such high tuition rates. High tuition automatically eliminates a substantial portion of potential students from even considering a career in dentistry, business or medicine.

The negotiations between students and administration over tuition hikes take place under the guise of democratic process, but the only outcomes of these meetings is damage control for administration – at least they look like they considered the students' opinions.

As students consistently battle against increases, the governing body consistently disregards the arguments and do what they will, regardless of the impact on students. The various bursaries and grants devised to placate students are hardly a consolation as they reach only a small pocket of the population. The fact there is a need for so much financial aid is a clear indication there is a problem.

The increases of late have been rapid and significant, with each of the increases being in the thousands. Why is administration in such a rush to bombard students with overwhelming payments? It is a known and accepted fact that tuition does increase gradually over time, but the sudden increase of thousands of dollars is a burden which students can barely, if at all, handle.

The student voice has a long history of being silenced by the powers which be, but it also has a history of including the most revolutionary and progressive voices of each era. After Orientation Week was saved it appeared someone in the Stevenson-Lawson Building was listening. Apparently not.

If the current trend in tuition rates continues, the future of modern society will be placed in the hands of the elite. Then we'll be back where we started – before it was decided education should be a right, not a privilege.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999