On Friday Finance and Registration services sent out emails to University members regarding the proposed hike in International Tuition Fees that was recently approved by the Board of Governors. The two tables outlined the differences that can be expected over the next four to five years for returning International students and new International students. The former will be grandfathered into the system with both categories reaching an equilibrium by the year 2023. The calculation of that year reaches upwards of $20,000, not including housing, medical, and other expenses; higher than both the University of Winnipeg and University of Manitoba's current rates. That is over a doubled increase from current rates.
Now, let’s discuss both sides, and I really mean sides as there distinct ones in this case, of the situation. You have international recruiters arguing that Brandon University’s relatively low tuition rates are unappealing in the foreign market due to prospective students and their families questioning why a university would charge such low rates compared to other universities in Canada. “Did they have questionable services?,” “Are they compensating for something?;” well at least, that is what they said. Then you have the financiers of the university, pressured by the dropping support from the new conservative government, finding solace in knowing that international tuition fees rates are unregulated and up for exploitation. When support from the outside is declining, ways of filling in the gap is now being searched within the system.
But what about the ones most affected by the hikes, the students? Students surveyed have largely contributed to a consensus that their reasons to come to BU was its affordability. The location nor the services of the university, other than the music school, were major attractions for them to come to Manitoba’s second largest city. The low rates of tuition combined with a low cost of living has attracted students from around the world for years, and this hike is likely not to play in the university’s favour. So how come the change? The institution definitely has a strategy up its sleeve regarding how it’s going to attract students to Brandon with rates equal to ones in British Columbia and Nova Scotia, Canada’s steeper provinces regarding tuition; however, they’re not being transparent with us regarding what exactly that is. For now, we will have to rely on mediocre town halls and vague emails to decipher the real plan for 2023.