OC adopts 2% domestic student tuition hike starting 2019 fall semester

Increase called for to address projected 2019-20 budget shortfall

Okanagan College budget needs have trumped student concerns in adoption of a two per cent domestic student tuition increase starting in the 2019 fall semester.

The tuition fee will result in $261,185 in additional tuition revenue for 2019-20 and $293,385 for ongoing years.

Curtis Morcom, OC vice-president, employee and corporate services, outlined the need for the tuition increase at the OC Board of Governors meeting on Tuesday at the Kelowna campus.

Morcom said the provincial government has not officially set the tuition raise limit for the 2019-20 school year, but he said the education sector has been told to expect it will be capped at two per cent.

He said the increase is needed to address rising operational and capital costs at OC which are not covered by the university’s block funding allotment from the province, leading to a projected operating deficit of $500,000 for 2019-20.

RELATED: Last OC tuition fee hike was also 2%

A delegation from the OC Student Union said given the projected budget shortfall, “we once again feel it would be naive to ask for no increase on tuition fees for the upcoming academic year, even thought that continues to be our preferred outcome.”

In a statement to the board of governors, the OCSU called instead for improving student access and health support.

One aspect cited was the cost burden placed on international students, as any tuition fee policies imposed by the province don’t affect them.

“In B.C., tuition fees for international students have inflated by 485 per cent since 1991, although the amount at this institution is 275 per cent,”said the statement.

“At Okanagan College, we have seen fees increase between 8, 2, 5 and 5.9 per cent annually since 2014, which indicates inconsistency and unpredictability.”

OC students are part of a coalition that includes university student groups across the province who are advocating for international student tuition fee increase regulations, given that international students are capped at how many hours they can legally work to help off-set their education costs.

RELATED: International students hit hard by tuition fee hikes

The OCSU also addressed the stress factor facing students, asking to keep the counsellor-to-student ratio at an acceptable rate and reinstatement of a full-time nurse on the Kelowna campus, a request that now dates back two years.

“There are 10 public post-secondary institutions in B.C. that have a nurse and/or a doctor on campus…We are falling far behind comparable institutions by failing to provide these vital services,” said the statement.

Education costs were also an issue raised regarding open education resources access as opposed to purchasing textbooks for courses.

RELATED: OC professors introduce e-textbooks to ease student costs

A student testimonial on this issue was included in the OCSU submission: “During my first year I paid over $2,000 for my required textbooks. In my second year, I decided not to purchase all my textbooks and hoped I would be okay without them.

“This year I was able to use open education resources for several textbooks and it’s awesome. I was awful trying to choose between textbooks and food.”



barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sparks fly off Steinway Grand during Vernon Valentine’s show

CONCERT REVIEW: NOCCA piano duo impresses

Vernon Christian School “Unplugs”

The event takes place Thursday, Feb. 28.

Okanagan College achieves second LEED Platinum award

“You don’t have to look hard to find advances in sustainability across all the trades”

What’s happening Family Day at SilverStar

SilverStar is offering a 50 per cent discount for all-inclusive day tickets on Family Day.

Vernon rolls out the red carpet for Oscars live stream

Okanagan Screen Arts Society hosts red carpet event in support of hospice

Vernon art gallery turns out the lights and throws a party

DJ, drinks and food at Art After Dark Feb. 23

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Drive BC warning slippery conditions for Okanagan main highways

The region is forecasted to see flurries and snow for the first half of the weekend

Most Read