UPEI tuition will increase by 3 per cent

Wayne Thibodeau
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UPEI president Alaa Abd-El-Aziz makes his way across campus in this Guardian file photo.

UPEI students will once again be hit with a tuition hike when they return to class in the fall.

As part of its 2014-15 budget, Prince Edward Island’s only university announced that undergraduate tuition would rise by 3 per cent.

This increase represents $16 per course or $160 per year for a student taking a full course load.

International student fees will also increase by 3 per cent.

Last year, the university hiked tuition by 4 per cent.  

UPEI Student Union President Anastasia Smallwood said while the student union is pleased there are no program or staff cuts or increases in student fees, they cannot support a tuition hike.

“While the student union cannot support a tuition increase, we understand that the university faces a number of budgetary pressures as do other post-secondary institutions across the country,” Smallwood said in an email.

“We do appreciate being included in discussions about the budget and are pleased that the budget does not include any cuts to core student programs and services, or any increases to ancillary student fees, such as the athletics and administration fees.”

The UPEI Board of Governors budget approved at its April meeting is balanced.

The board’s approval is the last step in a process that began last August when UPEI’s president and vice-chancellor Alaa Abd-El-Aziz began planning earlier than in previous years, in order to give the campus more time to develop the budget proposal.

“While the student union cannot support a tuition increase, we understand that the university faces a number of budgetary pressures as do other post-secondary institutions across the country,” UPEI Student Union President Anastasia Smallwood

Abd-El-Aziz said the university’s approach was to look at ways to increase revenues while reducing expenditure budgets.

The principal sources of funding are the provincial government operating grant and student tuition.

“We appreciate that post-secondary education continues to be a priority for the government of P.E.I.,” said Abd-El-Aziz.

“The provincial government core operating grant constituted 50 per cent of total UPEI revenue in 2013–14.”

In the latest provincial budget, UPEI’s operating grant stayed the same.

Throughout the budget process, administrators across campus worked to minimize the impact on UPEI’s most valuable resource—people—by reducing non-salary expenditures as much as possible.

“While the proportion of the operating budget allocated to salaries and benefits remains high at 72 per cent, UPEI was able to prevent layoffs through vacancy management and attrition,” the UPEI president said.

The university did not say how many positions may be eliminated through vacancy management and attrition.


















Organizations: UPEI Student Union, UPEI Board of Governors

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

    April 27, 2014 - 06:56

    We already have the highest tax base in north America, The highest Income Tax. The least amount of jobs for graduates. We might as well make in unaffordable for them to attend here. If they want to find work in their selected field they might as well get it in a Province where they can get educated at a fair price and also find employment.

  • Uptown Earl
    April 26, 2014 - 22:18

    @Downtown Dougie: (1) Those buildings (largely paid for by the government) were sorely needed to bring UPEI teaching out of the 1960's and are used to educate health care workers and business people of the future--just what you would want on PEI. (2) stagnating enrolment is a problem throughout the Maritimes, if not the country. UPEI has done rather well, compared with other Maritime universities (Google it), and is actively recruiting outside PEI. The problem is the huge drop off of PEI students graduating from high school here. More Island babies, please! (3) The most recent contract held raises below the level of inflation, and certainly below the 3% tuition rise. The contract was also significantly less than settlements around the Maritimes recently. Government contributions to UPEI have flatlined the last two years after a 3% cutback, which means an effective loss each year. (3b) What programs don't make money for the university? The Arts? it's a cash cow. Run the university like a business? Google "for-profit universities" and the first two "suggestions" by Google are "for profit universities under investigation" and "for profit university scams". There's a good reason for that. Universities run like a business are the K-Tel of the education sector.

    • Downtown Dougie
      April 27, 2014 - 21:05

      You can try to rebut my points all you want but that doesn't mean they aren't significant contributors to UPEI's operating deficit and the root cause of the recent cuts. I can see that you want to cast stones at the government for a modest 3% decrease in funding like every other bleeding heart and probably make statements like, "post-secondary education makes better citizens." Rubbish for those of us that are critical thinkers. I go to the university and see and interact with the students everyday. The only thing that many of the students are getting is a big debt and knowledge on how to cut corners in order to get a passing mark. Cling to the most recent round of negotiations if you like but the huge percentage of the budget that salaries take up is a direct and absolute result of collective bargaining. Many of the arts programs are seeing sharp declines in enrollment..what do you want to hear on this matter? That's the case and whether cutting programs is palatable to you or not, time will take care of it when there are not enough students in the programs to justify offering them as a major. Political science to name just one, is a prime candidate for cuts. You can't force students to take courses they don't want to take. The fact that you think a university can't be run like a business is troubling. I can't see what the problem would be with trimming programs that don't make money or cutting unnecessary and redundant staff? I'm glad that when you searched a topic on Google, there was some bad news that came up. Imagine news organizations focusing on negative aspects of an issue. Such a rarity for that to happen. I can assure you that writing puff pieces about schools that are doing a good job doesn't sell a lot of newspapers. Anyways, I implore you to read a bit more on for-profit universities. And maybe a bit on the free market, too.

    • Downtown Dougie
      April 27, 2014 - 21:11

      Agree to disagree. Clearly those are the reasons why tuition has to go up. I'm not sure how you could disagree with that. Also, if they don't start acting sensibly, and treating the school like a business by taking care of the taxpayers money then the students will suffer. There is no way around that. Also, it's incredibly ignorant to assume that because some people have run universities in a poor manner that they all are like that. When there is a mutual exchange of goods and services, as when a student enrolls in a university, it is beneficial to both the student and the university if the school does a good job of providing an education. Because, ya know, more students will come then. Just really basic market principles.

  • Downtown Dougie
    April 26, 2014 - 11:14

    1) A plethora of new buildings that are great but certainly the financial burden of those beautiful structures doesn't end with the last strip of paint. 2) Stagnating enrollment. 3) Collectively bargained salaries and an administration that is allergic to running the university like a business, i.e., cutting programs that do not make money for the school. Those are the reasons the school will and has to continue to raise tuition. I'm not interested in hearing how our current government isn't doing enough because taxes here are already exorbitant and those same taxpayers that pay half of the school's operating costs, are also paying the other half in tuition. Before you blame the government, let's have some sanity and consider the fact that resources are limited and we cannot continue to pump funding into an institution that is too afraid to handle their affairs in a sensible manner. Shouting the premier's name in this comment section is just lazy and tired. I also implore all those that read this to resist construing my last comment as an endorsement of the current provincial government. It is far from that.

    • Fan of UPEI
      April 27, 2014 - 06:59

      In all seriousness, this is one of the best written and most logical comments in the Guardian I have ever seen. Bravo!

  • Effects of Ghiz!!
    April 26, 2014 - 11:13

    Well written; agree totally, effects of Ghiz and Wes!!!

  • Of course
    April 26, 2014 - 06:47

    Of course $ going up. Everything is going up. A lot of people can hardly afford to live on the island anymore. Why not start fleecing students as well. If they are smart, they'll leave here like many other people have had to do to earn a living. Thank you Ghiz Liberal government for once again screwing islanders.

  • HST effect
    April 25, 2014 - 18:48

    strike 3!