Island university, students both face financial hardships balancing books
It’s going to cost an extra $16 per course — or $160 more per full course load — at the University of Prince Edward Island when students register for the upcoming academic year.
The university’s board of governors announced Friday that tuition would increase by three per cent. The hike is the second in a row for the school, coming after a four per cent rise in tuition rates for this past year.
While seven per cent in two years does seem like a difficult financial burden to place on students, UPEI says its rates are still among the lowest in the region.
Prince Edward Island undergraduate students paid $5,360, excluding fees, for full-time university in 201/14. According to Statistics Canada, Nova Scotia undergraduates paid an average $6,185 for a full-time course load. New Brunswick undergraduates paid $6,133.
Nevertheless, it is always disheartening to see the price of higher education rise, making a degree ever more unattainable for certain segments of the population. It is getting more difficult with every passing year to get a job without a degree, and it is harder to get a degree if you don’t have a job to help pay for school.
The vicious cycle continues when students who land a job and a spot in their desired program have trouble juggling the demands of both.
Another factor to take into consideration is that P.E.I. is consistently at the bottom of the ledger when it comes to the paycheques its professionals bring home, compared with their counterparts in other parts of the country.
The price of a degree continues to rise, but the salaries graduates can expect to earn should they land a job in their field in the Island’s high-unemployment reality, do not keep up.
The university, meanwhile, faces its own financial quandaries trying to offer courses that will be popular enough to balance its budget without losing its credibility as a degree-granting institution by turning itself into a money-making business and its professors into products.
Last year, UPEI faced criticism when the price of its balanced budget was faculty and staff members who were given pink slips or reduced hours.
None of that has been alluded to this year and it is hoped that the tuition increase, along with restructuring of some of its programs, will keep UPEI’s books in the black and its students getting their money’s worth out of their education.
Charlottetown school nets royal
The Duchess of Cornwall has been offered the coveted role in Immanuel Christian’s School’s upcoming production of a couple of scenes from Romeo and Juliet.
While it is not known at this time whether Camilla, wife of Prince Charles, will exclaim, “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” we do know the duchess will at least be in the audience during her visit to P.E.I. in a few weeks’ time.
Bethany Kipp’s students sent personal missives to the duchess as part of an English letter-writing class. Apparently Camilla read the letters, was impressed by the content and agreed to visit, to the delight of the combined Grade 6/7 class.
Charles and Camilla’s royal tour was announced earlier this year but the details of their itinerary were only made public Friday.
Immanuel Christian School students were surprised and elated that their request for an audience — or perhaps a cast member — was honoured. The students should be congratulated for shooting for the star.