Dalhousie University’s Board of Governors voted Tuesday to approve tuition and fee recommendations for the upcoming academic year. In doing so, they also committed to a four-year plan to increase international tuition closer to Dal’s peer universities across Canada.
For 2019-20, all students will see a 3% tuition increase. New international students entering into undergraduate and non-thesis master’s programs this fall will also pay an additional $1,473 next year, and will see the same increase of $1,473 in each of the subsequent three years. Current international students will be exempt from these additional increases.
Following the meeting, Board Chair Lawrence Stordy said the Board has heard and understands concerns raised about the fee changes and the international student experience at Dalhousie more generally.
“International students are vitally important to us; so is the long-term sustainability and success of our university,” said Board Chair Lawrence Stordy following the meeting. “This is about finding the right balance, and providing resources to strengthen all aspects of our mission — including the experience of our international students.
“We are committed to ensuring international students at Dalhousie have the programs and supports they expect and deserve, and will work together with students and administration to make sure this important goal is met.”
Even with the adjustment, Dal’s tuition for international students is expected to remain among the lowest compared to similar universities across the country. Stordy also noted that the decision is the result of months of review and consultation, both through the university’s Budget Advisory Committee and the Board’s Finance, Audit, Investment and Risk Committee. Students have been consulted and engaged in every stage of the process.
Improving supports for international students
The recommended Operating Budget Plan put forward by Dal’s Budget Advisory Committee, and which will be voted on by the Board at its June meeting, includes approximately $1 million set aside for international student support. The university has also set aside funds for student assistance and will look at ways to address cases of financial hardship for international students.
More info on the budget: dal.ca/budget
Provost Teri Balser has also struck a rapid task force, led by Vice-Provost Student Affairs Ivan Joseph and comprised of international student representatives, administrators and others.
“The task force will explore our capacity and needs related to international student experience and support to ensure we are meeting their unique needs and challenges, and that the funding goes where it is most needed,” explains Dr. Balser.
She says the task force will report by the end of June with recommendations related to specific funding for student supports beginning fall 2019 term and beyond. In a separate motion put forward by student Board member Jeremy Ryant, the Board voted for the task force to present to the Board by the end of November 2019 an interim report, crafted in consultation with international students, on the impact of tuition increases.
In the meantime, the university will be reaching out to incoming international students for 2019-20 to inform them of the fee changes, and also will be allocating additional student assistance funds for those students who may experience financial hardship as a result of these changes.
Dr. Balser also emphasizes Dal’s commitment to supporting international students on campus more broadly.
“We recognize we need to do more to help ensure international students have what they need to succeed, and that’s why we are moving quickly to improve our support.”
Additional fee changes
At this week’s meeting, the Board also voted to approve auxiliary fee changes as proposed by select programs, as well as 3% increases to the Student Service Fee and the Facilities Renewal Fee, as well as updates to residence rates and meal plan fees. It also signed off on fees voted on in the recent DSU elections for select student societies (Pharmacy and Commerce) and increases to the Student Health Plan fees as recommended by the DSU executive.
For more on the university operating budget, visit dal.ca/budget
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