‘A really stressful year’: Dalhousie students react to second proposed tuition hike during pandemic
HALIFAX -- A possible tuition hike at Dalhousie University isn’t setting well with students, who say they need more support from the university during COVID-19.
Some students say they’ve faced additional stress and costs associated with learning from home, and some are even left wondering if it’s all worth the price.
“It just puts more stress on what has already been a really stressful year,” said Maryanne McLarty, a student at Dalhousie.
The university’s budget advisory committee recommended a three per cent tuition hike for the next academic year.
The draft of the plan says the increase will help provide support to students, faculty, and staff as they continue to navigate the pandemic.
But many students say they don’t feel supported at all.
“We want to know that Dalhousie is thinking about its students, and that Dalhousie cares about its students,” said third year law student Meghan Faught.
“Increasing tuition again doesn’t really send that message, because it kind of shows they may be out of touch with what students are actually experiencing,” she adds.
If the hike is approved, it will be the second tuition increase at Dalhousie since the start of the pandemic.
Though the advisory committee cites several reasons for the increase, low enrollment isn’t one of them – there has been an increase of students this academic year.
The Dalhousie Student Union says the proposed hike is disheartening.
“Dal has stated multiple times that they are looking to address mental and physical wellbeing concerns in the student body,” said Madeleine Stinson, president of the student union.
“But the new proposed budget doesn’t reflect that in the numbers. Even if there’s room for student supports, really that increase in tuition is what makes the difference – because not all students qualify for bursaries,” Stinson said.
“There are years in university where there’s a fundamental time when you get the experience you need to do other things,” said Carleigh MacKenzie, a third year journalism student at the University of King’s College, which is partnered with Dalhousie.
“For me personally, this was supposed to be my fundamental time, to get that experience, to learn these things – and that’s not how it’s been,” MacKenzie said.
The Dalhousie Law Students Society wrote a letter to the decision makers, asking them to consider the effects the increase would have on students.
Meanwhile, Dalhousie’s budget advisory committee invites students, and anyone affiliated with the university, have until Wednesday to submit their feedback on the draft.