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<CSLF releases report critical of CSL

Canada has some of the highest interest rates on student loans in the world.

The Coalition for Student Loan Fairness released a report outlining flaws in Canada’s student loan program this July.

CSFL director and author of the report Julian Benedict stated that the student loan program should be run like a traditional social program.

“It’s not considered an imperative for the government to make money off the health care system and no one expects it to,” said Benedict. “However for some reason student loan borrowers are being asked to pay far more in interest so that the government can attempt to run a revenue-neutral operation.”

The CSLF is now looking into provincial student loan programs across the country starting with B.C.

Qatar campus opens

The University of Calgary-Qatar campus opened August 2007, making it the largest over seas program in Canadian history.

The project is expected to cost over $1 billion and will be funded entirely by the Qatari government. The school is one of many within Dubai’s University City and will focus on nursing, a much needed trade in Qatar. Approximately 13-15 U of C students will be enrolled for this fall, but within five years that number could increase to 100 new students per year.

The Qatari government is aiming for a world-class nursing program and dean Michael Clinton has said that he expects 10 times the funding per student in the Qatari program than for the faculty here in Calgary.

Province gives university $260 million

In Jul., the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy and its the Experiential Learning Centre secured $260 million in funding from the provincial government to build the Energy and Environment building which will house both.

Funding was long awaited as planning for the building have been in the works for five years, a ground-breaking ceremony was even held last September.

ISEEE will be an interfaculty institute and will house up to 1,000 students. The ELC will help to replace many of the run down undergraduate laboratories around campus.

“This is an excellent location because to brings to Calgary, a city known for it’s oil and gas expertise, the whole issue of sustainable development and environment which is key to the continued economic sustainability of the province of Alberta,” said Premier Ed Stelmach.

The University of Calgary had originally asked for $283 million plus an additional $40 million for the ELC.

“As a representative for the University of Calgary I am happy that the money has initially been invested but I want to see a guarantee that the project–as it was envisioned–will be fully funded,” said Liberal MLA Harry Chase.

Ground is expected to be broken this fall and completed by 2010.

MLAs speak out against PSE discrepancies

In May, two MLAs–Neil Brown and Alana DeLong–spoke out about funding discrepancies between Alberta’s two biggest universities.

Brown stated the University of Alberta had received $364 million dollars more in capital funding than the University of Calgary had­–in just three years. According to Brown the U of A receives $11,374 per full-time student in operating funds compared to $10,105 per full-time student at U of C.

DeLong claimed that a bias may stem form the U of A residing in the same city as the provincial government.

“Essentially you’ve got the department people here [in Edmonton] so they’ve naturally got a bias,” said DeLong. “They see their university as the only university. They really do care more about the U of A.”

Olympic gold medalist named U of C’s women’s hockey coach

Three-time Olympic gold medalist and eight-time world champion Danielle Goyette was hired as the University of Calgary’s women’s hockey coach this May.

Although this is first coaching job many believe that her experience as a player will propel her into a successful coaching role here at the university.

“She is one of the most decorated women’s hockey players this country has ever seen,” said Dino’s Athletics director Don Wilson, “She has enough playing experience and enough experience working with athletes, either as instructor in camps or as a player herself that she will have all the necessary knowledge.”

Students’ Union events executive resigns

SU vice-president events Eric Jablonski resigned from his position in early Aug. Jablonski held the position in 2006-07 and was acclaimed for the 2007-08 year. He resignation came after a late acceptance into the U of C medical school.

“The timing just didn’t match up,” said Jablonski. “I had to have a plan, and I had to have a back up plan and that’s just how it worked out.”

Although this a very busy time for the SU much of the planning for the year has already been set in place.

West Campus Development

In late Jun., the university held two open houses to unveil a proposed set of development plans for the West Campus.

The proposed design integrates both residential and commercial buildings to create a high-density development that would cater to both public and university communities.

While the West Campus development would not create new student spaces, U of C VP external Roman Cooney said students would benefit, as it would provide the university with an alternative source of revenue. Cooney also said one third of the development’s residential area would be set aside for student housing.

However, some residents from neighbouring communities expressed concern about the development’s high density.

“There is hardly any planning, if any, for increased traffic in rush hour,” said Varsity Village resident Jack Alexander. “Nobody here really knows for sure what the impacts are going to be.”

Pending a decision from the Board of Governors and the City of Calgary, the university will then begin requests for proposals from private developers. The West Campus development is slated to begin in 2008 and will take two decades to complete.

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