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New loophole in BC domestic tuition cap: a gchat dialogue.

Posted By Maayan Kreitzman On May 10, 2016 @ 11:01 pm In News | Comments Disabled

UBC got some flack this year for their mega tuition increases [1] for international students. Domestic students have been spared from drastic changes in the cost of education in recent years thanks to a BC government policy limiting tuition+fee increases to 2% a year since 2005. But that policy is very quietly being reinterpreted. I have copied a recent Socratic exchange between Neal and I, with a few extra links, to explain.

Neal: If you’re back from China and want a story tip, I’ve got one for you. Also we bought a futon so you are welcome to visit any time!

Maayan: Hi Neal! I’m back to Vancouver. But I don’t really want to get bogged down with reporting a story right now since I’m starting my comp exams. Better give it to the Ubyssey. What’s it about though (out of curiosity)

N: AvEd [The BC Ministry of Advanced Education -ed] opened a giant loophole in its tuition policy for fee increases. Before, fees + tuition were considered part of an overall envelope. Various components within the envelope could go up by more or less than 2% but the entire envelope could not go up by more than 2%. So you couldn’t introduce a new fee without something else decreasing or being frozen.

M: Except for AMS fees – like the fee for the new Nest is outside of the 2% calculation.

N: Yes. Also new tuition.

M: Ah. What’s new tuition by the way? Tuition for new programs?

N: Yeah for new programs. That’s always been exempt, along with AMS fees.

M: And now other fees can go up more than 2% without affecting the tuition calculation?

N: Right. Now, AvEd has “reinterpreted” the tuition limit policy to say that new fees don’t count towards that calculation, the same way as new tuition is exempt. So BoG could create a whole new fee, call it whatever the hell they want, for whatever amount they want, and it would be allowed. The new “UBC excellence fee” of $500/year per student or whatever. So it’s a loophole big enough to drive a truck through.

M: Was the 2% cap legislated or just a ministerial directive thingy?

N: It was just ministerial policy. And the wording of it hasn’t changed, just the official ministry interpretation [2] of it.

M: And this is documented how…?

N: A college invented a new fee, mentioned it in the Board documentation to support the fee [3] (look starting on page 60). Now that I google it, this was apparently in the news in March [4]. So it’s not like it’s a scoop… I wasn’t paying attention

M: We should still post about it ….looks like it’s way under the radar

N: If only to use the phrase “UBC Excellence fee” sarcastically and then probably have them create a fee with that exact name. Now go study for your comps

Article printed from UBC Insiders: http://ubcinsiders.ca

URL to article: http://ubcinsiders.ca/2016/05/new-loophole-in-bc-domestic-tuition-cap-a-gchat-dialogue/

URLs in this post:

[1] mega tuition increases: http://ubyssey.ca/news/tuition-increases-announced/

[2] official ministry interpretation: http://www.aved.gov.bc.ca/tuition/docs/Letter_to_all_PSI_Presidents%20_Tuition_Limit_Policy.pdf

[3] documentation to support the fee: http://www.nic.bc.ca/about_us/governance/bog/docs/agenda/2015-2016/20151126%20BOG%20AgendaSM.pdf

[4] in the news in March: http://globalnews.ca/news/2556596/b-c-allows-sneaky-tuition-increases-says-the-ndp/

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