THUNDER BAY – Students at Lakehead University say there’s no question their school can afford to stop runaway tuition fee increases. The university’s Board of Governors is set to vote on a proposed 3% fee hike for the 2015/16 school year next Tuesday, April 7th.
In a media statement released by the student union, “If the vote passes, it will mark a full decade of annual tuition fee increases at Lakehead, all of them above the rate of inflation. Yesterday, the Lakehead University Student Union (LUSU) presented the Board of Governors with a position paper proposing an alternative: indexing tuition fee increases to the rate of inflation”.
“These non-stop tuition hikes are unsustainable, and are really impacting Lakehead students and our families,” says student union president Ian Kaufman. While the student union acknowledges the need for an improved funding model from government, it also maintains that Lakehead must take part of the responsibility. “Lakehead actually can afford to hold tuition fee increases at the rate of inflation quite easily. This would be a huge step, and a very cheap one for the university.”
The cost of this “real freeze” on fees would amount to about $450,000 in 2015/16
– less than four tenths of one percent of the university’s $120 million operating budget.
“The cost of indexing tuition fees to inflation is equal to about 1/7 of Lakehead’s travel budget, and only slightly more than the annual salary of Lakehead President Brian Stevenson,” said Kaufman. “These comparisons make it clear that Lakehead does have the money – it’s a question of priorities.”
“Lakehead’s Board of Governors heard Mr. Kaufman’s concerns at its meeting in March, and we look forward to continuing discussions with LUSU at future meetings, including the one on April 7,” states Murray Walberg Chair, Board of Governors, Lakehead University.
The student union will present its proposal at the April 7th Board of Governors meeting, which takes place at 2pm in the university’s Senate Chambers (just off the Agora).