Volume 94, Issue 20

Wednesday, October 4, 2000


Peeping incidents plague UWO area

Thames toxic blot to be contained

Ottawa students protest tuition changes

Wet/Dry violators to be fined

Smoking may leave you depressed

Alliance MP calls for vote reform

Med students plead for tuition decrease

Med students plead for tuition decrease

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff

High tuition rates at Western's medical school have students and administrators searching for solutions.

Speaking before Monday's meeting of Western's Board of Governors Campus and Community Affairs Committee, representatives of Western's medical school students, said high tuition is keeping qualified students from pursuing their medical goals.

Michael Curry, VP-external for the Hippocratic Council, said according to a survey done by the council, the average family income of a medical student is $140,000 and the expected average debt load for a student entering medical school this year is $86,000. Medical students are currently charged more than $10,000 to attend Western's medical school.

Curry said he felt the root of the problem is the deregulation of medical schools across the province, whereby tuition levels are set by the schools themselves and not the government. "The rise in average family income is directly related to deregulation," he said.

"You can only afford to attend medical school at Western if you're from Ontario, have a good credit background and come from a wealthy background," he added.

To remedy the situation, Curry made three requests to the committee. He asked that Western lobby the government to increase levels of Ontario Student Assistance Program aid, that BOG respect a Senate decision to freeze tuition and that BOG take steps to increase financial aid provided by Western.

Curry also said the government program to provide financial aid for those medical school students who work in under-staffed areas after graduation was insufficient, as it only provided money after the student had accumulated debt and could not provide for immediate tuition concerns.

Also in attendance was Melissa Parker, a student senator and medical student. She said as a result of hight tuition rates, many students have chosen areas of specialization according to how much money they will make as a result – not out of interest or passion for the area of medicine.

Jim Etherington, chair of the CCAC, said the job of the committee was to consider concerns raised by medical students and make recommendations to BOG. "University has to look at how to cover costs," he said. "There will be some increases in all tuition levels, I expect, but that hasn't been decided. I'd be kind of surprised if there was a reduction in tuition."

Western's VP-administration, Peter Mercer, said he was impressed with the medical students' presentation. "They were very articulate, well-prepared and their concerns are very compelling," he said.

Mercer added the administration and medical students must now work together to properly investigate the issue. He said the concerns will be given further investigation at the CCAC's November meeting.

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