Volume 94, Issue 3

Friday, June 2, 2000


NEWS

I'm running: DeCicco

SOGS left out in the cold
Privatization plans continue

Exploding tuition put on ice

London takes sixth in Canada

Top-notch prof search gets $9.6M

24 ways to know you're Canadian

London getting diesel powered buses

Arena shortage solved
City approves another rink

Exploding tuition put on ice

By Xavine Bryan
Gazette Writer

Reaction continues to be mixed since Western's Board of Governors agreed to support a Senate proposal to freeze tuition fees for medical students.

Michael Curry, a Western senator and second year medical student, said the tuition freeze is a good start, but not enough. "With tuition levels at almost $11,000, the big issue is that many students simply can't afford to pay it," he said. "The tuition level is higher than what you can get from the [Ontario Student Assistance Program.]"

Curry says tuition fees need to be reduced because students graduate with astronomical debt loads. He explained some medical students entering the working world with debts over $100,000.

"There is this [mis]conception that if you graduate from medical school you will earn a lot of income and you can pay off your debt," Curry said. "In some specialty fields, 20 years in the future, that may be true. But that doesn't help you pay off your tuition in September."

In April, the BOG voted to support a tuition freeze for medical students and Curry said the supporting vote was a reversal from the Board's decision last April.

Greg Moran, VP-academic and a member of the BOG, said he supported an increase in tuition last year for additional revenue.

"The quality of all our programs are threatened because government funding is inadequate," he explained. "If government funding doesn't increase for programs, all our programs are at risk."

This past March, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities announced universities could raise tuition fees for most undergraduate programs by a maximum of two per cent per year – over five years. However, the cap does not apply to medical schools.

Carol Herbert, dean of the faculty of medicine and dentistry, said she understood the tuition concerns of students, but explained additional revenue is needed to ensure the quality of the programs.

"If there is no added revenue from tuition, we have no other sources. That puts the faculty between a rock and hard place."

Curry said some students may be discouraged from applying to medical school because of high tuition fees. "The people we need to be concerned about are the people who are not there."

Varsha Thakur, a first year medical student, said he expects to graduate with a $50,000 to $60,000 debtload. "It is getting expensive, but in the end, if you want to go to university, you have to pay for it."


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Copyright The Gazette 2000