More students empty out their pockets
For the third year in a row, both tuition and enrolment are on the rise at the University of Regina. Higher enrolment, partially due to greater numbers of international students, are a step forward for the university, whose numbers were steadily declining until 2008. And as enrolment has risen, so has tuition.
Barb Pollock, vice president of external relations, cited three reasons for enrolment increases. After numbers began to decline in 2006, university president Vianne Timmons began to make recruitment visits to smaller communities in Saskatchewan.
Secondly, the university has worked diligently to ensure a growth in international students. However, without the international students, enrolment would be down. Enrolment began to fall from 12,000 in 2006 and, without international students, enrolment would be lower than ever. International students make up approximately 11 per cent of students this year, compared to 6.8 per cent last year. While enrolment is up, it appears this is purely due to international students.
Similarly, the university’s recently opened faculty of nursing, in co-operation with SIAST, has brought extra students in. There are 350 nursing students at the university, which is only a small percentage of the campus population. However, the university hopes that the faculty will continue to grow.
Another reason Pollock gives for the rise in enrolment is the university’s UR Guarantee program. The program promises students a career after their four-year degree, or a free year of tuition, after coaching throughout their schooling in order to help students find a job. The university believes this guarantee is an attractive option for students choosing which university to attend.
The rise in enrolment is one of the reasons for tuition increases over the past three years. Since 2008, tuition has risen 11 per cent, and Pollock says the three per cent increase announced this spring was made in an attempt to ensure quality education for students. Pollock said the research done by the university found that, when comparing total tuition and first-year fees for first-year, full-time undergraduate arts students at 58 universities across Canada, the U of R is the 13th most affordable. However, research-website globecampus.ca, founded by the Globe and Mail, lists the U of R at 27th in a list of 72 universities. All three universities in Manitoba have lower tuition and comparable programs to those at the U of R.
Tuition makes up 30 per cent of the university’s budget each year, but Pollock was reluctant to explain where the tuition goes. Some goes to the staff on campus, and the university has been upgrading its facilities for a few years, with one of the main projects this year the improvement of the Archer Library.
When asked if tuition will rise again, Pollock couldn’t give a definite answer.
“It’s difficult to predict the future, and never an easy decision to increase fees,” she said. “However, I can assure you that the University of Regina is committed to doing what it takes to deliver a quality education.”