Message to members regarding the provincial budget

Categories: Representation

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RE: 2019-2020 Provincial Budget

Dear SAMRU Membership,

On October 24, 2019, the Government of Alberta tabled the 2019/2020 Provincial Budget. The 2019-23 Fiscal Plan states that tuition fees are permitted to increase by up to seven percent per year for the next three years, those with student loans will now pay prime plus one percent on interest, tuition and education tax credits have been eliminated, post-secondary funding will see cuts, and the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP) for students will be eliminated.

Since the start of my tenure as President, SAMRU’s Representation Executive Council has worked hard meeting with the government to reiterate our priorities of affordable and predictable post-secondary education. We know that you never wanted post-secondary to become more expensive, and my team and I are also very disappointed.

In the coming weeks, you may hear a lot of speculation from the media, staff, faculty, and community stakeholders on what the budget will mean for students at MRU. We encourage you to engage in dialogue with your peers, check people’s sources, and please reach out to your representatives here at SAMRU; we want to know how you perceive the changes to post-secondary could affect you. The tuition decision at MRU rests with the Board of Governors, of which VP Student Affairs Kainat Javed and I are voting members. We will bring your concerns directly to the decision-makers as your representatives.

The Students’ Association will continue to work hard to represent and serve all students by keeping the university’s focus on students and reminding all levels of government that we are an important stakeholder that cannot be ignored. On Wednesday, November 6, from 12:00pm-1:00pm in the Council Chambers (Z236) we would like to invite all SAMRU membership to discuss the budget more closely and next steps. In closing, know that we share your concerns. Know that we are listening and that we will continue to stand with you. We look forward to speaking with you more on Wednesday. 

Sincerely,

Shayla Breen


President, SAMRU Representation Executive Council

 


What this budget means for MRU students

 

Tuition and Education Tax Credits:

  • Beginning in the 2020/2021 school year, the Government of Alberta will no longer be issuing tuition and education tax credits.
  • Example: If a student pays $10,000 in tuition per year, they will lose a $1,000 tax credit.
  • Any credits issued during this 2019/2020 school year, as well as any existing credits, will be honoured.

Student Loans:

  • Interest rates on Alberta student loans will increase to prime-plus-one percent. The government estimates that this will cost the average student paying off a standard $30,000 loan over 10 years an additional $15 per month.

STEP:

  • The annual budget for the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP) was $10 million and it employed approximately 3,000 students per year, with a $7-per-hour subsidy for the employers. It has now been eliminated completely. 

Tuition Increases:

  • The tuition cap has been lifted, allowing universities to raise tuition by up to 7 percent per year for the next 3 years. When compounded, this could work out to a 22.5 percent increase in tuition over 3 years. 
  • A 7 percent increase in tuition for a student taking four classes in both the Fall and Winter Terms will cost students approximately $387 in the first year.

Cuts to Funding:

  • MRU has lost 1.3 percent in funding from the Government Campus Alberta Grant this year which equates to approximately 1.3 million dollars. We are expecting more cuts to MRU over the next three years.
  • The Infrastructure Maintenance Program (IMP) has been frozen for this year equating to an approximately 3.6 million dollar cut to MRU. The IMP is used for things like classrooms, labs, and study spaces on campus.