The USFA’s External Relations Committee met recently with the Graduate Students Association, which is opposing a series of tuition hikes over the next several years, along with PSAC 40004, the bargaining agent for graduate students working as teaching assistants.
“We are considering increasing graduate tuition by approximately 10 per cent per year for five years,” provost and vice-president Tony Vannelli told Global News via email “[This increase] would bring USask graduate tuition levels to the current median U15 graduate tuition rate,”
USFA has heard that several units are forecasting decreases in their graduate student population of up to 50% as a consequence as much of the funding for graduate students comes from research grants held by faculty. Some of these funding sources, including the Tri-Council grants favoured by senior administration, consider the number of graduate students working for the faculty member when making their awards, which will lead to a downward trend in the size and number of Tri-Council grants held here, in turn threatening research careers. Other universities in the U15 have resources to sufficiently backfill tuition increases without negatively impacting research programs. Here, the increase will be an across-the-board cut to research funding, and will be particularly hard on units with small or newly started graduate programs.
The proposal is ill-timed given the ambitious Plan 2025 for Research. Most importantly, it doesn’t take into account the financial realities in Saskatchewan, and the financial challenges students already face.
We encourage you:
- Individually and/or through your unit advise the President and the Board of Governors of your concerns. (See attached correspondence from the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics.)
- Participate in the rally at noon on March 23 in front of the Administration Building.
- Attend the Board of Governors public reception on March 23 (watch for advertising) and speak directly with Board members.
Read and consider signing the GSA’s Petition Against Proposed Tuition Hikes.