I see by Academica Top Ten that the U of Alberta now has to chop $56 million out of its budget over two years, rather than three, because of severe cuts to provincial funding.
The item in the on-line postsecondary news roundup, originally reported in the Edmonton Journal and Globe and Mail, says that UA has to reduce the budget by seven per cent and student support services by eight per cent for 2014-2015.
Here in Manitoba, the province reneged on its five per cent grants increase promise, but still increased grants by 2.5 per cent, avoiding so far the massive reductions seen in Alberta and several other provinces.
Meanwhile, some U.S. schools on whose mailing lists I have somehow managed to land are taking extraordinary steps to make postsecondary education accessible for students.
Take, for instance, Ashland University, which is a private university somewhere between Cleveland and Akron, which announced breathlessly:
"Ashland University has made a bold move in addressing the issues of accessibility and affordability facing higher education. The University has reset its cost structure for full-time undergraduate tuition and financial aid resulting in a cost cut of more than $10,000 for the 2014-15 academic year. The tuition reset, which will apply to all full-time undergraduate students enrolled in 2014-15, represents a 37 per cent decrease from the projected 2014-15 tuition of $30,064, bringing it to $18,908.
"‘Over the past decade everyone in higher education has danced around the subject of the rising cost of college. Yet few have been willing to tackle the issue and the complications involved,’ said AU President Dr. Fred Finks. ‘Ashland University knows the importance of positioning ourselves to meet the rising demand for quality education at an affordable price. We have decided now is the time to act. We believe this is the best way for us to help both the ‘high-need’ and the ‘low-need’ students.’"
Ashland officials said in the news release that some students and parents were deterred by sticker shock — can’t imagine why — and that the new fees will be introduced concurrently with a reduction in scholarships and other financial assistance, so that students will be charged what would be close to their bottom line cost of attending. Plus, one should add, $9,502 for ancillary fees and room and board.
One year’s tuition at Ashland would give a student four years in an honours program at UM and UW, with money left over for books.
It’s not just health care you need to deal with, Barack.