NewsStudents' Union

Notes from Council: U of A agrees to eliminate tuition instalment fee

"We're still working really hard to save students as much money as possible," UASU President Abner Monteiro said.

“Notes from Council” is The Gateway’s ongoing series of recaps of noteworthy items from Students’ Council meetings.

At Students’ Council on January 24, the Student Experience Action Plan was presented to council, the future elimination of the tuition instalment fee was announced, and the proposed tuition increases were discussed.

During Speakers Business, the resignation of arts councillor Leo Huang was announced. There have now been four councillor resignations in the 2022-23 academic year.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone for the journey, and I just want to say that I’m leaving on good terms,” Huang said.

University of Alberta Students’ Union (UASU) President Abner Monteiro, and Sarah Wolgemuth, assistant dean (student life), presented on the Student Experience Action Plan.

The plan has four co-sponsors: Melissa Padfield, deputy provost (students and enrolment), Monteiro, GSA President Anas Fassih, and Leo Wong, associate dean (education).

The plan is centred around gathering feedback from students — by tabling, doing consultations, and meeting with student associations — so that the U of A can gain insight on how to “make the student experience exceptional,” the presentation said.

After co-creating a proposition based on consultations and feedback from students, the co-sponsors will identify and implement the required steps to deliver the proposed student experience. The success of the project will then be tracked with specific metrics.

“I think what we’re about to embark on with creating the Student Experience Action Plan is unique, and unlike anything any other university really tries to do,” Monteiro said. “It’s really centred on co-design, and creating a plan that’s equally created between students, and the university.”

“The university has agreed to eliminate the instalment fee,” UASU president says

Currently, students who choose to pay fall and winter tuition separately are charged a $40 instalment fee, included in the total when paying for winter term. During executive reports, Monteiro reported that the U of A will be removing the instalment fee.

“Due to our advocacy, the university has agreed to eliminate the instalment fee — a huge win,” he said.

Monterio added that the executives are “working really hard to save students as much money as possible,” and are looking for additional sources of financial aid to help offset the effects of increased tuition.

During open forum, The Gateway asked Monteiro if the Students’ Union has plans to organize a protest in response to the proposed tuition increases, in light of the University of Calgary Students’ Union protest that was held against similar proposed tuition increases on January 20.

“We’ve definitely talked about it, and we’re still exploring it,” Monteiro said. “We’ve been connecting with counterparts at U of C, and a lot of their focus has been around the fact that U of C didn’t do proper consultation with the students.”

“If anything we’ve had the complete opposite,” he said, referring to the university consultations with both the UASU and Graduate Students’ Association. “But we’re still talking about what possible direct actions we may do.”

At the next Board of Governors (BoG) meeting on March 24, Monteiro said that SU executives are planning on “[getting] as much out of this proposal as possible to save students money,” and will be “focusing on saying everything [they] can to prevent any kind of increase from being able to happen.”

Lily Polenchuk

Lily Polenchuk is the current 2022-23 News Editor and former 2022-23 Staff Reporter at The Gateway. She is in her first year, studying English and political science. She loves skiing, longboarding, a caramel latte anytime in the day, and animated tv comedies.

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