MASU consults faculty on issue of raised correspondence fees

Several faculty members voice their support for MASU’s stance against fees 

MASU President Dylan Wooley-Berry raised concerns at the Tuesday Nov. 24 faculty council meeting about the implementation of a correspondence course tuition for the 2016 winter semester.
Correspondence courses are currently included in the $7,465.00 tuition for Canadian full-time students. As of the winter semester, students must pay an additional $746.50 separate from tuition for each correspondence course in which they’re enrolled.
Wooley-Berry said the corres-pondence fee will make learning at Mount Allison less flexible as it creates a financial barrier for students, and unfairly disadvantages students on the basis of their socio-economic status.
Wooley-Berry said the MASU welcomed faculty input on this topic. University President Robert Campbell, who chaired the meeting, then opened the floor for input from those in attendance. Several faculty members then voiced their support for Wooley-Berry’s motion.
Dr. Dave Thomas, department head of international relations, said he was concerned tuition fees for correspondence courses could reduce the level of enrolment, which could eventually lead to a reduction of course offerings at Mt. A.
Khashayar Ghandi, professor in the department of chemistry, asked whether correspondence tuition would be in line with the provincial government’s tuition freeze.
In response, Dr. Karen Grant, provost and vice-president academic and research, said, “This is not a tuition increase.”
VP Finance and Operations Robert Inglis said that the $746.50 correspondence fee represents the standard cost of a three-credit course. It is worth noting that while a standard full-time courseload required to graduate in four years at Mt. A is five courses per semester, Wooley-Berry said that Mt. A students take “an average of 4.2 courses per semester.” In spite of this, the fees for up to 12 courses per year are covered through full-time tuition fees. Therefore, a student maximizing the number of courses they’re enrolled in would pay $622.10 per course, which is $124.50 less than the forthcoming cost of a correspondence course.
Dr. Michael Fox, professor of geography and environment, asked why Mt. A would not then simply switch to a pay-per-course tuition model. Inglis said that most Mt. A students attend with the intention of taking on full courseloads, whereas students may be more likely to attend schools such as Dalhousie or St. Mary’s University if seeking supplementary or individual per-credit courses.
Campbell also indicated that the university’s overall revenue would decrease if Mt. A adopted a pay-per-course model.
The remainder of the meeting was primarily concerned with Grant’s opening the floor to suggestions on Mt. A’s update of its mission and vision statements. The tentative mission statement reads “Students are at the center of everything we do at Mount Allison University.” Dr. Owen Griffiths, professor in the department of history, said the university’s proposed mission statement is at odds with the changes to the correspondence course program.

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