Volume 95, Issue 74

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

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Huge tuition hike proposed by UWO

Engineering-gate? Money missing

No more NDP - no more low tuition in B.C.

Another day, another forum for Prez wannabes

Rock and Stewart unveil plan

Profile: Marc Raymond

Profile: Kevin Shipley

Tan your way to a prettier death

News Briefs

No more NDP - no more low tuition in B.C.

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

In yesterday's speech to the throne, British Columbia's Liberal government announced plans to end a six-year, province wide tuition freeze.

The proposal, which has angered students across the province, comes after a year-long five per cent tuition decrease the government implemented last year after being elected.

However, since the previous New Democratic Party government implemented the freeze in 1996, students in all university programs in B.C. have paid among the lowest tuition rates in Canada, second only to Quebec.

"It's an alarming situation for students here because we are looking at increases of up to 300 per cent in some faculties," said Erfan Kazemi, president of the University of British Columbia's Alma Mater Society.

"We are looking at a situation where students have planned their education and their savings are going to be wiped out," he said.

Summer McFadyen, B.C. chairwoman of the Canadian Federation of Students, said she expects the post-secondary dropout rate to rise as a result of deregulation.

Shirley Bond, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education, was unable to be reached yesterday by telephone. However, she responded to questions via e-mail, writing that she believes deregulation is "truly in the best interest of students."

"We have fulfilled the commitments we made in our New Era platform," Bond wrote, referring to the one-year, five per cent decrease in post-secondary fees.

"While most students told me they wanted the freeze to continue, realistically we can't afford that," she wrote. "The freeze, together with a lack of proper government funding put enormous pressures on our public institutions."

"During [the tuition freeze] we have had $9 million cut from our operations budget and our enrollment has increased," said Patty Pitts, media spokeswoman for the University of Victoria. "Something has to give."

–with files from Chris Lackner

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