Differential tuition and loans

By Sally Jade Powis

With tuition fees rising, there is a great deal of financial stress placed on University of Calgary students. Particularly those in the MBA, law and medicine programs charging differential tuition fees.

According to Alberta Learning’s Tuition Fees Policy, institutions are permitted to charge variable fees to match program costs and program demand.

As a result of the U of C Board of Governors approving differential tuition in March 2003, law and MBA fees will increase–to about $11,000 over the next three years, and the fees for medicine will increase to nearly $14,500. If loan maximums remain at the current level of $11,000 per academic year, they will not cover tuition costs for the students enrolled in those programs.

"The university has made a commitment to devote a third of differential tuition fees back to those faculties for student support programs," said U of C Vice-President External Relations Roman Cooney.

The monies will be distributed as scholarships and bursaries.

MBA students will receive scholarships based solely on their entrance GPA, since most of them are self-financed, or receive funding through private-sector sponsors.

Students pursuing a professional degree in law or medicine will receive funding on the basis of financial aid. The Faculty of Law has a total of $52,500 to disperse among their students, with awards ranging from $1,500 to $2,500. A total of $70,000 will be available for bursary awards for students in medicine, with each award valued at up to $5,000.

Alberta Learning is revising their tuition fee policy in order to ensure education is both accessible and affordable. With government funding for education decreasing, nearly 40 per cent of post-secondary students require loans to fund their studies .

Post-secondary students can receive a total of $11,000 from the Alberta and Canada Student Loan Programs per academic year.

“Loan limits have now increased for students in Law and Medicine and, more recently, for mba students,” said Cooney. Students enrolled in these programs are eligible to receive an extra $300 on top of the loan maximum.

There are other options for students seeking financial aid from the Alberta and Canada Student Loan Programs.

Students who live in rural areas, but within commuting distance of their institution, may be awarded an extra $100 to cover transportation costs. As well, single students who have been out of high school for less than four years and must move away from home can receive as much as $13,000 in loans.

In addition, students with “special circumstances” can receive up to $17,000 in student loans and grants per school year. According to Alberta Finance, students who qualify for such funding include, but are not limited to, single parents, married or common-law students whose spouse cannot work for medical reasons, or single students who are required to make maintenance payments, such as child support.

If your loan is not enough to cover the costs of education and living expenses, you can apply to have your loan award reviewed to see if you are eligible for more assistance. Students who are dissatisfied with the result of their review may request a hearing before an independent appeal committee.

For more information on funding your post-secondary education, visit the U of C Student Awards and Financial Aid office, mlb 124.

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