Earlier this year, the Province of Nova Scotia announced that they would allow universities to make adjustments to tuition (called “tuition market adjustments”), to be implemented over three years, 2016/17 to 2018/19. This adjustment would be outside of the 3% annual tuition increase that is currently allowed by the Province.
The context for considering a tuition adjustment
From 2011/12 to 2013/14, the government decreased their operating grant to universities by a total of 10%. For the Mount, this meant a total reduction of $1.9 million. For the years 2014/2015 through 2018/2019, the government has agreed to provide a 1% per year increase in our grant (or $200,000 per year). We do not know for certain what the future will bring, but the government has stated that they will not further increase their grant to universities, given their fiscal realities.
Universities continue to face rising costs (due to inflationary pressures, etc), enrolment at universities across our region has declined, and we anticipate more challenging years ahead based on demographic trends affecting our region.
Tuition adjustment decision
Over the course of the past several weeks, members of the Mount’s Executive team led a consultation, seeking the input of students, faculty and staff on a proposed tuition change. All feedback received has been shared with the Board of Governors.
After much deliberation, the Board of Governors voted to approve a per course tuition increase of $21 for all undergraduate programs (a course = one half unit of credit). This equates to an increase of $210 per year (two terms) for an undergraduate student taking five courses per term.
This decision was not taken lightly. As stated by Jolene Mahody, Chair of the Mount Board of Governors, “The interests of Mount students – current and future – were at the core of the Board’s deliberations. In the end, the change was needed in order to ensure a sustainable future for the Mount and the best possible education for our students, for years to come.”
An increase of $21 per course in each of the next three years, coupled with continued careful management of enrolment and costs, will assist us in our efforts to continue to avoid a deficit situation and help ensure a more solid financial footing.
Supporting Mount students for years to come
With a focus on first ensuring our sustainability, a portion of any excess revenue over expenditure during the next three years will be directed toward a new emergency fund and our existing bursary fund in support of students in greatest need. Our goal is to augment our bursary fund so that we can better support students now and in the future. In addition, we hope that this change will help us ensure adequate funding for counselling and accessibility services (provided to students who require accommodations to attend university), both of which are experiencing increases in demand.
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