Home News Increase of international students’ fees delayed until April

Increase of international students’ fees delayed until April

by Archives April 1, 2008

Exercising their right to peaceful assembly, students stormed past a line of security guards and rushed the EV building’s stairs to protest outside the Board of Governors meeting early Monday morning.
The group kept up a noisy racket for over an hour while the board’s executives debated a motion to increase international tuition fees by nearly $1,000 per year.
Megaphone in hand, newly-elected CSU executive Colin Goldfinch shouted to the group of students, “How do we want the board to vote?” Fifty-strong, theyrepeatedly shouted back “NO!” in unison.
Security guards stood outside the room, guarding the locked entrance, while students shouted and pounded on the walls. Executives inside the room winced.
According to CSU president Angelica Novoa, at one point she thought the meeting would be cancelled because the disruptive noise was so intense.
“It felt like we were completely surrounded,” she said. “It was like students were everywhere.”
Inside, the board members debated whether or not to level a 10 per cent fee increase on international students, a decision already postponed after a protest at the January BoG meeting. At the suggestion of university president Michael Di Grappa, the board again decided to postpone the issue – this time until April, when students will be fewer in numbers.
The fee increase is on the table now just as the university is coming to grips with its large deficit for the first time in several years. Combined with a lesser-than-expected fund allotment from the provincial government, the administration will need to find ways to make up for an unanticipated budget shortfall.
Di Grappa said Concordia’s administration will have “some tough choices to make in the coming months, because of the university’s financial situation,” and spoke seriously of the “magnitude of the problems” the university is facing.
“We have to look at the university’s financial situation overall,” said Di Grappa after the meeting. “We are projecting significant, accumulated deficits over the next three to five years. When you’re borrowing interest on long-term debt, there’s a carrying charge.”
Di Grappa suggested that more research was also needed to assess how Concordia’s international fees compare to those of other universities.
International tuition fees increased in September at the Universite de Montreal and at McGill University, and the Universite du Quebec a Montreal is “working it into their plan,” according to Concordia’s media relations director Chris Mota.
For their part, Concordia’s international students protest means the university will be rejecting its mandate to provide accessible education.
As a student from Seattle, WA, Audrey Peek (President of the Arts and Science Federation of Associations) believes that many international students won’t be able to afford their fees if they were increased.
“There is this myth that international students are really well off, but I don’t think that many would be able to afford this increase,” she said outside the EV building as nearly 100 placard-toting students circled.
“We have hundreds of letters from students who say they can’t afford this if it goes through,” Novoa said.
Novoa said she would be presenting to the Board personal stories of international students who would be gravely affected by an increase.
“There are some pretty sad stories,” said Novoa. “Some families have sold their property in order to be here.”
She presented a petition by the CSU with over 2,500 signatures in support of keeping tuition fees at the current level.
Board Chair Peter Kruyt acknowledged that while students needed to be considered, the university’s finances also needed to be addressed with the same consideration.
“This will not be easy,” he said to the board in closing. “It will not be fun, and if you think this is a difficult decision, I can guarantee you there will be other decisions associated with it that are going to be much more vile. But it’s a reality that we have no choice but to deal with.”

Related Articles

Leave a Comment