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International student tuition increase passes

After six days of performing a sit-in at the Dalhousie University president’s office, students moved to the MacDonald Building today. They attended the Board of Governors meeting in anticipation of the vote on the proposed 2019/20 operating budget.

The sit-in was the result of feeling ignored and used by Dal administration. Dal students had been protesting the tuition hikes in the budget since early March; they delivered over 1,000 student signatures opposing the increases to the board on April 9, to which they received no response.

Dal admin guarded the prez office as students came to deliver our 1030 petitions. They wanted us to talk to them. But the truth is we have talked to the admin already. So MANY TIMES. So we staged a sit-in in…— DISA (@daldisa) April 9, 2019

Message received

Students received their response at the BOG meeting, loud and clear: international students will pay an 8.1 per cent tuition increase every year for the next four years.

So, tuition will increase for new international students at Dal by $1,472 for the 2019/20 year. By the 2021/23 academic year, tuition will have raised by $5,900 per international student.

Current international students will be grandfathered in so the changes will only affect those enrolling in the 2019 fall semester. The increase also includes a 3 per cent tuition increase for all domestic undergraduate students.

Teri Balser, provost and vice-president (academic) and chair of the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC), presented the final draft of the budget to the board.

She said 90 per cent of revenue for Dal come from two main sources: tuition (41.2 per cent) and provincial government funding (49 per cent).

The BAC rests its decision on the basis that Dal overwhelmingly undercharges international students in comparison to other U15 universities. The increase will allegedly allow the university to remain competitive with those U15 universities.

She also noted the $700 million being directed specifically toward international student services.

But …

At the end of December 2017 (the last report published online) Dal reported a total of 3,843 international students. Assuming enrolment will continue to increase (like Dal does), let’s say an there’s an average of 4000 international students each year. Based on these figures, Dal will earn roughly $5.8 million on international tuition alone.

According to the Annual Financial Report for the 2017/18 fiscal year, Dal reported $177.7 million in tuition revenue; but Dal doesn’t report how much comes from domestic students and how much from international students.

Dal also had a net surplus of $7.4 million, in part due to international student enrolment.

“As International students pay a differential fee in addition to the regular tuition this has been the significant factor contributing to an overall increase in tuition revenue of $3.8 million compared with budget,” reads the June 2018 report.]


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