The University of New Brunswick Must Lower Tuition Fees

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We at the UNB Student Union strongly feel that the University of New Brunswick has severely left students out of their decision-making process for the fall 2020 semester. As a result, we face a financially disadvantageous school year, where the best interests and wellbeing of the students are not a consideration. 


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of New Brunswick has announced their decision to transition to a “blended” delivery method for the fall semester. We truly agree that the health of our students is of the utmost importance, and commend the university for attempting to think of ways to  minimize contact between students at this time. With this decrease of in-person courses, however, comes the implementation of “alternative delivery” courses. These are online courses, which will be delivered remotely to our students. In light of this change in education, where a vast majority of students will be attending university from home (wherever that may be), the university is still charging the full amount for tuition as they would any other year. 


HOW MANY CLASSES WILL BE IN PERSON?


We at the UNB Student Union, upon hearing that the UNB course timetable had been updated to include course delivery methods, have compiled a full list of how many courses have actually remained in person. We separated lectures from labs, and found that in total, 7%-8% of lectures are in person, and 24%-25% of labs are in person. These numbers are disappointingly low, especially considering the promise from UNB to create a “blended” form of education that includes both in-person and online courses. With this being said, we know the university will respond with “the health and safety of all students is our priority” as it should. We do not disagree in the slightest that the current global pandemic presents a situation where students can not gather as they once could. The problem arises when despite these low numbers, our students continue to pay as if 100% of courses are in person. 

WHAT ARE WE PAYING FOR? 

As we consider the courses of action that UNB may be able to take in regards to lowering tuition, we must break down what exactly our students are paying for. Here, we took the time to examine both tuition, and fees

UNB Financial Services describes that the money paid by students for tuition covers:

  1. The cost of instruction
  2. Regular examination
  3. University libraries
  4. Creative arts
  5. Varsity/Campus athletics

Unfortunately we could not find numerical values to place with these 5 items. Upon consideration of what tuition is listed to include, we see right away that students who do not attend classes on campus will not be able to reap the benefits of the services their tuition is paying for. Keeping in mind that approximately 7% of lectures, and approximately 24% of labs will be in person, a decrease in base tuition should absolutely be considered.

In addition to tuition, all students pay fees to the university.  Typically, students’ fee statements include items such as our student union fee, the CHSR fee, the Brunswickian fee, and also other “mandatory fees” implemented by the University. These mandatory fees are not described to students in their statements, however can be found online here. We strongly encourage administration to review the necessity of some of these fees, keeping in mind that a vast majority of students will not be on campus to benefit from fees such as the facilities access fee , the technology fee, and many program fees as listed in the link above. 

THE UNIVERSITY IS PLANNING A TUITION INCREASE

We would also like to call on the university once again to reverse their decision to increase tuition by 2%. We previously released an open letter to the university which also requested this reversal, and were told that because the board of governors approved this increase, they would be sticking with it. In addition to this petition, we will also be sending another open letter (found here) to once again call on university administration to reexamine the increase, among other items. The decision to increase tuition was made at a time where the current global pandemic was not a consideration. The global situation has changed drastically, and there is no reason for the university to charge its students more money than before.


We at the UNB Student Union call on the University of New Brunswick to reexamine their tuition prices and fees to not only reflect the decrease in the quality of education we will be receiving this year, but also the financial impacts that COVID-19 has had on our students. We truly hope this petition will bring to light the amount of people in our community that will be negatively impacted by UNB’s decisions, and will be meaningful enough to persuade UNB to make the best choice for all students.

**If you are a UNB student or Alumni signing this petition, please feel free to say so in your signature so we can see how many people in our community this has impacted!**