EDMONTON - The president of the University of Alberta has given students and staff a dire picture of what campus life will be like following $67 million worth of cuts.
Indira Samarasekera told students and faculty on Friday that $67 million in cuts are a "very serious threat to our quality."
She said staff reductions have already begun and across the board cuts which were originally to be 1 1/2 per cent, have been upped to three per cent.
Samarasekera said travel will be greatly reduced, except for recruitment, sports or anything that can be revenue generating.
As well, many senior administrators are voluntarily taking a five-day leave, equivalent to a nearly two per cent cut in wages.
Enterprise and Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk sent a letter to all 26 post-secondary boards, asking for three year's worth of salary freezes.
Samarasekera told the crowd she's disappointed the letter was made public before she had time to discuss it with staff.
She also confirmed that all collective agreements that have roughly two years to go will be honoured.
"We simply can't offset the impact of a $67 million budget change in one year," Samarasekera said.
"We are going to have a very significant deficit for all of these cuts."
She said in three years the budget will be balanced.
The Alberta government slashed $147 million in funding to all post-secondary institutions in its budget last month.
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Inflation and tuition.
Tuition fees have risen more than <a href="http://www.cba.org/cba/national/Students/Student01.aspx" target="_blank">125 per cent </a>in the past decade while inflation has only risen just over 20 per cent.
A sweet dream
If you need a glimpse of the possibility of inflation related tuition, take a look at <a href="http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/09/16/university-tuition-fees-rise-again-statscan/" target="_blank">this</a>.If we took inflation rates from 1991 on, and matched tuition with inflation, the average cost of undergraduate school would cost only $2,130
A new model?
<a href="http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/edmonton/president+raises+prospect+cuts+tuition+hikes/8031529/story.html" target="_blank">At her state of the university address</a>, University of Alberta President Indira Samarasekera called for a new model that funds universities. The current model treats all post-secondary institutions the same, which Samarasekera thinks misguided.
"We are funded exactly like Grant MacEwan and Mount Royal (universities) and yet, if you look at our cost per student, which includes access to a world-class library and superb facilities, there is a cost to that nobody is covering," Samarasekera also suggested raising tuition at the level of her school's counterparts, by asking. "...can we afford to sustain and subsidize graduate education at a level that is much lower than our peers?”
Pick a major?
For some programs you are free to decide what to study, no matter what your high school grades were.
<a href="http://www2.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=c1b6c926-dd77-45cb-820f-c4a46c2cfb1d" target="_blank">If you want to take a Science major at the University of Alberta, you better hope for great grades in high school.</a> As recently as 2010, students needed to average a 72 to get into the faculty, now, you will need an 80 to get in.
Textbook case of robbery
The price of the textbook could sting you more than paying tuition. You need a biology book? $200 please. The reason books are so expensive is due to a law passed in 1999.
The high costs of textbooks.
The Copyright Act, "grant(s) Canadian publishers—or the Canadian arms of foreign owned multinationals—exclusive rights to import and distribute titles published abroad." According to Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), the exclusive rights of Canadian publishers to import and distribute the titles costs students $30 million per year
With exams, studying, part time jobs, a student may struggle to keep his or her head above the water. As the life of a university student becomes more stressful, statistics around mental illness become staggering.
The depressive trend
<a href="http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/09/05/the-broken-generation/" target="_blank">Students from all over North America</a> are feeling more depressed, and are committing suicide. A poll of 1,600 University of Alberta students revealed 51 per cent of them felt that their lives were hopeless.
A guaranteed job.
You just worked your tail off for four years. You received good grades, learned a lot, and you made a couple good contacts. Getting a job will be easy.
With a degree, without work.
26 year old Mayan Freebord works at a cosmetic centre. She is not an unmotivated, bratty woman, who lives off her parents. She is a 26 year old university grad who lives off her parents, and it makes her feel "terrible." <a href="http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/story.html?id=8155745" target="_blank">With an average debt of $20,000 12 million Generation Y's are having trouble getting their career started.</a>
Hot for teacher jobs?
If you want to study education at a university in Alberta, you may find work in rural Alberta. In the next 14 years, the student population will grow by 150,000. To meet that demand 9,000 teachers will be needed. <a href="http://www.calgaryherald.com/life/bts/Alberta+facing+shortage+male+teachers+rural+areas/7168267/story.html" target="_blank">However; very few want to teach in rural areas.</a>
New teacher, no jobs?
Recent education graduates are having an even <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/story/2011/04/28/edmonton-new-teachers-cuts.html" target="_blank"> tougher time </a>getting jobs in the province. a 2011 funding increase meant to pay for teachers raises' left little to no money to hire new teachers.
Big money President
While students at the University of Alberta pay for classes, books, transit, and many others, they also pay for the expenses of their president. University of Alberta president Indira Samarasekera receives<a href="http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2009/04/03/which-university-presidents-make-more-than-obama/" target="_blank"> car, and house allowances</a> to go along with her salary.
High pay, at high cost.
While students scramble to make ends meet, school officials cash some pretty big cheques. From this 2011 blog, the University of Alberta President Indira Samarasekera, takes home <a href="http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2011/07/04/top-10-highest-paid-university-officials-in-canada/" target="_blank">almost half a million dollars.</a>
Where the money lies
<a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/economy-lab/who-are-the-richest-1-per-cent-in-canada-theyre-not-just-ceos/article4231232/" target="_blank">275,000 Canadians fill the top 1 per cent income bracket. 83 per cent of them are men.</a> <a href="http://www.lawyersforfairtaxation.ca/canadian-inequality-recent-development-and-policy-options/" target="_blank">With only ten percent of the richest working in the financial industry,</a> "the rest ( of the top earners) are doctors, dentists, vets and various corporate managers.
The gender disparity of the one per cent
<a href="http://www.scienceadvice.ca/uploads/eng/assessments%20and%20publications%20and%20news%20releases/women_university_research/wur_fullreporten.pdf.pdf" target="_blank">A report</a> completed by the Council of Canadian Academies concluded as of 2008-09,the majority (39.6 per cent_ of female university students study in the humanities. That does not bode well for women, the worst degrees for future wealth <a href="http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/worst-college-majors-for-your-career.html?page=all" target="_blank">are predominately humanities.</a>
Where the jobs are
<a href="http://www.edmontonsun.com/2012/06/08/alberta-job-growth-tops-nation" target="_blank">For Albertans</a> high education doesn't come at a cost, if you pick a trade. The employment numbers in Alberta are high . Also, Alberta, along with Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, have lower unemployment rates for tradesmen, when compared to other provinces in the country.
The appeal of trade schools.
<a href="http://o.canada.com/2013/01/28/why-canadas-universities-are-failing-to-prepare-students-for-life/" target="_blank">Graduates of trade schools in Canada</a> have an unemployment rate of 7.2 per cent. In the three good provinces for tradesmen, that average hovers below five per cent.
Where the blame lies
Raising tuition fees have created a huge burden for students in Alberta, and in Canada. As Roxanne Dubois of the Canadian Federation of Students writes in <a href="http://www.edmontonsun.com/2012/06/08/alberta-job-growth-tops-nation" target="_blank">Rabble</a>, "...an under-funded system of post-secondary education imposing increased tuition fees creates losing conditions for students."
The need for university degrees grows.
In that same report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, it was revealed, in the next decade, <a href="http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/policynote/2012/09/cost-learning-growing-faster-incomes" target="_blank">up to a third of jobs in Canada</a> will require university degrees. It does not take a economist to see, high tuition rates will cause people to avoid university, which in turn will keep one third of jobs unfilled, which will lead to industries leaving the country.