Friday, August 22, 2008

Nipissing University wins gold medal; defends provincial championship

For Immediate Release

For the 3rd year in a row Nipissing University has won the coveted gold medal in the province’s most controversial event among post-secondary students: tuition fee increases. Incoming first year students will be drinking fewer Tim Horton's coffees in order to pay $195.00 more in first year tuition fees than their now second year colleagues compared to one year ago (based on 30 credit course load).

Tuition increased from $4,315.00 to $4,510.00 this year. This fee increase is the maximum allowable under the provincial funding rules (approximately 4.5% each year). This maximum increase has occurred each year since Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced the removal of the freeze on tuition fees during the 2005/06 academic year. Since this announcement, tuition fees have increased by $560.00 at the maximum rate permitted each year.

Professional Students Paying More

Students who are in professional schools such as Business, Nursing, Computer Science, and Graduate studies will be paying significantly more for their education. Tuition fee increases of approximately 8% will be experienced by these folks. As it turns out, deciding to get an education earlier in life than later actually is cheaper.

Future Outlook Bleak

There are no signs that tuition fees will be decreasing in the near future. A press release issued by Nipissing University in May 2008 announced the approval of a near $58.4 million deficit budget for the upcoming year. You can read the release at nipissingu.ca/news. In the release it is quoted that “the approved budget will allow the university to sustain the quality of education that it provides to students and, at the same time, continue to grow its capacity.”

In other words, more students will continue to be accepted to Nipissing University at an increased rate in the near future, but the quality of education will not be increasing at the rate of 4.5% or 8% like tuition fees are currently.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, Ian, very well-done. I am especially fond of the quote "In other words, more students will continue to be accepted to Nipissing University at an increased rate in the near future, but the quality of education will not be increasing at the rate of 4.5% or 8% like tuition fees are currently."

Anonymous said...

On top of the previous poster's comments, this 4.5 - 8% increase cannot and must not be attributed to inflation. According to StatsCan, consumer prices rose only 3.1% in the 12 months prior to June 2008 (http://www.statcan.ca/english/Subjects/Cpi/cpi-en.htm).

The University's highest paid employee saw their salary rise from $233,372 to $250,200.04, a 7.2% increase, between 2006 and 2007!

Geoff Brown said...

What alternative would you propose to help pay off this $58.4 million deficit?

Anonymous said...

It's not a deficit of $58.4 million (Ian's comments are somewhat misleading). The deficit is $736,925, and the $58.4 million is the total budget.

How would I address this problem? The Council of Ontario Universities, the networking and lobbying group to which every university in the province belongs, should start lobbying the the provincial government to increase their overall support for post-secondary education, rather than lobbying the government to allow larger tuition fee increases. This is the political solution, though there are also many practical solutions.

Also problematic is that Nipissing supposedly operates on the concept of "a deficit-free budget" (http://www.nipissingu.ca/aboutus/history.asp under "Fiscal Management"), a plan which it now seems to be abandoning. Frustratingly, the Bachelor of Education program has one again been oversubscribed, ostensibly as a measure to increase the total "funding units" (a.k.a. "students") at Nipissing, in order to decrease the deficit. Services won't be expanded to accommodate this "larger-than-expected" (not) influx of students; faculty and staff will merely be stretched to the maximum once again.

However, like I said, the only real solution is a cohesive, single-issue push for proper levels of funding from the provincial government.

Big Green Giant said...

You make a good point about tuition rising faster than the rate of inflation.

I must apologize for the confusion regarding the deficit budget. The budget itself tallies approximately $54.8 million while the deficit sits at over $700,000. as previously mentioned.

You can view more budget information and the budget itself (including both revenue and expense pages) at the following website:

http://www.nipissingu.ca/administration/Budget2007-2008.asp

Big Green Giant said...

I am not entirely convinced that the constant cap on tuition fees that we are currently experiencing that is instituted by the provincial government is a solution to decreasing tuition fees. Certainly, a limit on the maximum allowable increase of tuition fees is one way to go about managing the increase at a provincial level.

However, in the spirit of constantly moving Nipissing University forward (whatever the phrase "moving forward" means) it seems that if the university isn't growing - in terms of student numbers, programs, and professors - that Nipissing will be left to eat the dust of bigger institutions. This viewpoint seems to be the one of the powers-that-be.

If the province did not impose a limit on the increase of tuition fees each year, universities would increase tuition fees willy-nilly. Suddenly, more funding would become available for more support staff, professors, and building space all at the cost of the individual student.