The union representing the University of Toronto graduate programs has urged university leaders to reject a proposed $2,000 increase in tuition and fees that would affect the thousands of student union leaders who have signed onto a campaign against the plan.
The U of T Graduate Student Union, which represents the union’s 4,000 members, has called for the university to adopt a system that is more equitable and reflects the diversity of the student body.
The university’s executive committee on Thursday voted 3-2 to approve the tuition hike, which will affect graduate programs and students in residence.
The union says the tuition increase will force the U of Toronto to hire more students to fill the gaps in the graduate programs.
“The university should do everything in its power to increase access to a diverse student body, to reflect the diversity and diversity of its undergraduate student body,” the union said in a statement.
The university, however, has not made any formal recommendation to students on how to pay for the tuition hikes.
The student union, which has also sent out letters to university presidents urging them to support the union, says the proposed increase will put university finances at risk and could hurt graduates who are already struggling financially.
“This tuition hike will impact graduates who will no longer be able to access their full education, and will be unable to pay their loans,” said the union.
“As we know, our union has a longstanding history of advocating for equitable and fair tuition rates.
It is a matter of great concern that a government that is determined to make our universities more accessible to students with special needs is making this decision without consulting the UTSU or the many graduate students that are directly impacted by the proposed tuition increase.”
The UTSI union, also representing the UBC student union and the University at Buffalo, has also called for a tuition freeze, as have some students in other Canadian universities.
“We believe the U.S. and Canada are among the most diverse societies in the world, and the UTM is committed to providing a welcoming and equitable educational experience for all,” the UTRU said in its statement.
“With the UTU’s commitment to equity and diversity, we feel the proposed UTM tuition hike is unacceptable.”
The new policy will affect nearly 6,000 graduate programs across the university, which include programs in accounting, nursing, physics, sociology and psychology.
The UTS union has called on the university and the province to end the tuition freeze.
The union says tuition and fee increases are a burden on students, who are working longer hours to pay the bills, while the government’s proposed cuts to health care funding would hit graduate students hard.
“This increase in student fees would also be a burden to our graduate students who are also working in precarious and stressful jobs,” said UTSIU president John Zobel.
“Graduate students are at higher risk of experiencing homelessness, and this increase in fees will likely further exacerbate this situation.”
The University of British Columbia says it is reviewing the policy, and said it is committed “to the equity of all students and to ensuring all students have access to affordable and accessible education.”