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Campus Bulletin

March 08, 2006

Government Announces New Student Aid, Tuition Framework

The Ontario government’s new regulations for tuition were unveiled today. U of G will analyze the tuition framework to determine how it will affect the University’s budget planning process.

The multi-year framework allows universities to increase tuition for first-year students by up to 4.5 per cent in most programs and up to eight per cent in the first year of professional and graduate programs. Once students are in their programs, subsequent annual increases are limited to four per cent. Overall, tuition increases may not exceed five per cent at any institution.

The government also reiterated plans to spend about $1.5 billion on student loans and grants and extended the eligibility for access grants for low-income students. “I am delighted to hear about the extension of the grant program,” says president Alastair Summerlee.

“We now have a multi-year tuition framework and a multi-year budget commitment from the government,” he says. “But much of the funding is tied to accountability, which means we must spell out the quality and access improvements we plan to make and the results to be achieved. We have some difficult choices to make as a community, especially in light of the significant budget challenges we are facing.”

It was announced earlier that in its 2006/2007 budget planning, the University expects a gap between expenditures and expected revenues of about $8.7 million. A tuition increase alone cannot address the problem. A one per-cent increase in tuition would bring in about $800,000.

“We continue to look for ways to help make up the gap, and it will require making some difficult choices about priorities,” Summerlee says.

The University will analyze and incorporate the new tuition regulations in preparing a final budget for the Board of Governors meeting scheduled for April 20. “It’s a very tight time frame, and people need to be patient and understanding as we provide information to support the discussions.”

The University has already committed to holding open discussions on all components of the budget March 31 at two town hall meetings, April 11 at Senate, and April 19 at a special open forum the night before the B of G meeting. In addition, the University is now planning a special meeting of Senate April 4 to discuss the recent announcement and any impact of announcements made in the provincial budget scheduled for March 23, which might include details of grant allocations and monies that would deal with deferred maintenance. In addition, the location of the April 20 B of G meeting will be moved to accommodate a larger audience.

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