Brock tuition rates continue to soar

Students are not very well off. A simple walk through the field of broken down beater-cars and the renowned and rusty, Chevy Cavaliers sitting in Zone 2 would attest to that fact. Unfortunately for cash-strapped students and families who may be struggling to pay extremely high Ontario tuition prices, Brock has once again raised the price of undergraduate tuition for the 2014 to 2015 academic year.

Believe it or not, considering Ontario’s tuition rates are some of the highest across the country, the Ontario government still strongly regulates the increase of college and university tuition. Each year the provincial government allows a university to increase its tuition 4.5 per cent.

Yes, Brock University only raised its tuition three per cent, when it could have raised it an additional 1.5. But is that any reason to pat ourselves on the back and give thanks to Brock’s merciful generosity? Even if the tuition increases remain at a yearly 4.5 per cent, if a university was to increase the tuition every year the full amount regulated, for ten years, tuition in 2024 would be 45 per cent more than this upcoming academic year.

Although this three per cent may not seem like a lot when compared on a stretching Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, for every credit in which a first-year undergraduate student enrolls, it will cost them an additional $35. For the full five credit course-load, that’s an increased cost of $175 over last year.

Brock’s large debt remains an issue. With two specific large expenses being the newly built Cairns Bio Medical building and the Marilyn I. Walker School for Fine and Performing Arts being completed downtown, hopefully the University is refraining from simply increasing tuition for additional income and is instead using that investment in order to increase value of students’ degrees.

More than simply paying an incredibly high price, further tuition injustice remains an issue for some students. For students who are still full-time but taking four credits rather than five, the cost is the same as a five credit course-load. This is blatantly unfair and financially penalizes individuals simply because they are not available, able or willing to take the full course-load.

Additionally, international students are entirely at the mercy of the university. As the provincial subsidy is only given to permanent residents and citizens, the international student tuition is not regulated by the government. As a result, an international student taking arts or sciences will pay $3,984.90 per credit or for business and computer science, $4,162.02.

Although, the increase of the minimum wage and the “33 per cent off rebate” administered by the Provincial government are helping, they’re not enough in many cases. With rates being so high and having so many other costs associated with a university degree, from textbooks and parking passes, to residence fees, don’t expect to see Zone 2 filled with BMWs anytime soon.

Here’s hoping that this tuition hike isn’t just Brock trying to get back into the black. Let’s instead hope (and fight) for our tuition being used to add more value to our degrees, increase the effectiveness of our education and provide the best possible undergraduate experience.

That being said, as Brock celebrates its 50th Anniversary, it is certainly a campus on the incline. With lots of new capital projects, it looks like it is at least using the money to create a bigger and better Brock, which is definitely the right direction.

To have a look and submit feedback on the official Brock draft long-term capital plan, visit brocku.ca/outlook/long-term-capital-plan/spreadsheet/.

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