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Decision deferred

Board defers implementation of tuition hike for international undergraduates

An increase in tuition fees for international undergraduate students has been deferred in order to allow further discussion between Memorial’s Board of Regents and government. The 10 per cent increase was scheduled to be effective this fall, but at its July 17 meeting the board decided to defer implementation of the increase.

In order to provide enhanced services to international students, last October the board voted to increase international undergraduate tuition fees if government was unable to provide additional funding.

The board considered concerns expressed by students and government at this month’s meeting in making the decision to defer the increases. The vote was unanimous.

Dr. Eddy Campbell, acting president, said that students opposed any increase in fees although, even with increase, Memorial University fees for international students would remain amongst the lowest in Canada. Dr. Campbell met with student leaders recently to discuss their concerns.

“I promised our student leaders that we would reconsider the decision taken last fall. The board examined the issues anew taking into account input from students and government,” he said.

“We’ve decided to see if another solution can be found by working with our partners over the next few weeks and months. It remains a priority to enhance services to international students. However, at present we do not have the necessary funding.”

The university needs additional funding to enhance services to international undergraduate students provided by the Admissions Office, the Academic Advising Centre, the English as a Second Language program, the Writing Centre, the Office of the International Student Adviser, and the Scholarships and Awards Office.

“A diverse student body brings the benefits of different points of views and cultures to our campuses and offers all students an enriched and intellectually stimulating environment,” said Dr. Lilly Walker, dean of Student Affairs and Services. “However, international students require more support than other students in adapting to life at Memorial, particularly as their numbers grow. We need to enhance academic and student support services, international student exchanges, increase the amount and numbers of international scholarships, and provide financial assistance for students who have limited means.”

Memorial’s Strategic Plan calls for growth in enrolments and includes plans for increasing the number of international undergraduate students from its current 550 to 1,200 over the next five years, with a total of 800 international undergraduate students planned for 2008–09.

International students at Memorial pay some of the lowest tuition fees in the country – $880 per course after the deferral – the second-lowest among comprehensive universities and the third lowest in Atlantic Canada. Currently, the average international student per course tuition fee is $1,154 among Canadian comprehensive universities, while the same average per course fee is $1,101 at Atlantic Canadian universities.