Student union says extreme tuition increases would damage access to education, recruitment and student trust

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – The University of Alberta is proposing a massive increase in some tuition costs.

The school recently informed the University of Alberta Students’ Union (UASU) and the University of Alberta Graduate Students’ Association (UAGSA) about a slate of proposed per-year tuition increases:


JD (Law): from $11,701 to $16,967 (+$5,265, 45%)

PharmD (Pharmacy): from $11,431 to $16,461 (+$5,029, 44%)

DDS (Dentistry): from $23,109 to $32,352 (+$9,243, 40%)

APDDS (Dentistry): from $57,093 to $79,930 (+$22,837, 40%)

BSc in Engineering: from $7,309 to $9,100 (+$1,790, 24.5%)

BComm (Business): from $8,012 to $9,775 (+$1,762, 22%)

BSc in Radiation Therapy: from $6,091 to $7,309 (+$1,218, 20%)

BSc in Medical Laboratory Science: from $7,512 to $8,789 (+$1,277, 17%)


Master’s in Counselling Psychology with Thesis: from $4,192 to $8,574 (+$4,381, 104%)

Master’s in Counselling Psychology: from $4,287 to $8,574 (+$4,287, 100%)

MBA (Business): from $14,380 to $24,015 (+$9,635, 67%)

MEng (Engineering): from $7,345 to $9,034 (+$1,689, 23%)

These per-year increases would come into force for new domestic students in September 2022. The UASU and the UAGSA warn that these extreme increases would damage access to education, recruitment, and student trust.

Joel Agarwal, UASU President said “We estimate this plan would ultimately impact at least 6,000 undergraduate students. We strongly support the Indigenous Law Students Association’s case that these increases will harm access to education for Indigenous and marginalized students. We also support the petition from the University of Alberta’s law students.”

Marc Waddingham, UAGSA President said “students are core participants in research, innovation, and entrepreneurial efforts. They are essential personnel for our provincial economic recovery. These disproportionate budgetary cuts and resulting tuition hikes are sending a clear signal to future students: reconsider coming to the University of Alberta.”

“This trend of exceptional tuition increases is not sustainable, and I fear it will become a common practice and eventually impact all of our programs.”

The University intends to bring this newly unveiled proposal to the Ministry of Advanced Education for approval in the next few weeks.

However, the UASU and the GSA believe the proposal is not consistent with the requirements and principles found in the Tuition and Fees Regulation and are urging the university not to submit these proposed increases to the Ministry.

They are also calling for the Minister of Advanced Education to reject the proposal for the following reasons:

The proposed increases are egregious, especially in light of the short consultation windows available for students in the affected units to respond.

The proposed increases come with no plans to improve student financial aid or graduate student funding arrangements.

Section 5(2) of the Regulation only permits exceptional tuition increases if their purpose is to increase program quality. The minimal documentation we have received from the University has no reference to quality. Instead, the documentation justifies the increases with comparisons to tuition rates at some of the most expensive universities in the country. We strongly believe that revenue generation, not program quality, is the primary goal of these exceptional increases.

Section 5(4) of the Tuition and Fees Regulation requires the University to consult with the UASU about exceptional tuition increases. However, the University’s approach has failed to honour the basic standards of its consultation handbook’s Student Participation Principles and Processes.

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