The MUN Students' Union (MUNSU) claims that the school’s administration is proposing a 16.3 per cent tuition fee increase for all students, a $450 annual “campus renewal fee” and a $50 “student services fee.”
MUNSU say some students will see the cost of their education jumping by more than $3,000 a year.
“If these fee hikes go through, President Kachanoski will have effectively destroyed the dream of post-secondary education in this province,” Renata Lang, MUNSU Director of External Affairs, stated in a press release.
“These fee hikes will make an already bad situation for youth even worse. It is crucial for government and the general public to intervene to prevent these fee hikes from going through.”
The proposal includes a yet-to-be-determined process for students who can prove they are “NL students” to be eligible for a rebate on the additional fee, but Lang asserts it will still have far-reaching effects.
“Not only will these fee hikes bring youth immigration to a halt, but they will drive more and more of our current residents away,” she writes. “These fee hikes will be a devastating blow not only to accessible education but also to the province’s fiscal recovery.”
After a reduction of $5.4 million in the 2016 provincial budget, MUN saw its operating funding slashed by an additional $6.5 million in this year’s budget.
In a story with the Telegram last weekend, Advanced Education, Skills and Labour Minister Gerry Byrne acknowledge the $11.9 million subsidy reduction but insists it was closer to $3.6 million as it was offset by an increase in targeted funding in other areas.
MUN has had a tuition freeze in place for more than 15 years.
The university has yet to issue a statement in response to the MUNSU release, but university president Gary Kachanoski said in a statement released by the Gazette that the budget had “significant implications for Memorial” as academic and budget planning were proceeding on the basis of another $5.4 million reduction for 2017-18.