1000 students cheated

By Heather Moulton

There are almost a thousand fewer new undergraduate students at the University of Calgary this year. What are the consequences? No one is really sure.

“This doesn’t have anything to do with smaller classes,” said Students’ Union President Bryan West. “Some faculties are way below their targeted enrollment, and there needs to be some accountability for that.”

Overall, the university is at 85 per cent of administration’s targeted enrollment, The Faculties of Science and Social Sciences are at 66 per cent and 69 per cent of their targeted enrollment, respectively.

“Faculties were expected to be within five per cent of expected enrollment,” said SU Vice-President Academic Laura Schultz. “But 85 per cent is way off the university’s expected enrollment.”

Because of this, the U of C may receive $3 million less tuition revenue this year. When a maximum tuition increase has already been planned, where will this money come from if needed?

“If the Faculty of Humanities hadn’t over-shot their target enrollment with 159 per cent, the university would be in big trouble [financially],” commented West. “I would assume that they aren’t going to balance their budget, so does that mean that we, as students, will have to pay even more?”

Of course, tuition is on everyone’s mind, but administration says not to worry quite yet.

“It’s too early to tell what the impact on the students will be,” said U of C VP External Affairs Roman Cooney. “We know that the lower number of students has been offset by the number of courses each student is taking. Overall, students are taking more classes.”

U of C Associate VP of Student Affairs Dr. Peggy Patterson agreed with Cooney on that point.

“If last year, the average student took 3.6 courses per semester, and this year they take 4.6, it doesn’t matter how many students there are, there are more courses being taken.”

Though undergraduate enrollment is down, graduate and international enrollment is up. International students pay two and a half times more for tuition than regular undergraduate students, so much of the estimated deficit could be made up there.

“We won’t know any financial implications until December, when the final numbers of courses taken will be accurate,” said Patterson. “We can’t estimate what the deficit will be, if there will be any at all.”

Some of the deficit could also be made up in the spring/summer semesters. The revenue from those semesters doesn’t get taken into account until the end of the year, when the final budget debt or surplus is determined.

One reason behind the lower enrollment was to control the quality of education for undergraduate students.

“We’re committed to quality education,” stated Patterson. “Students should get the type of education they want and deserve.”

Aside from the effects this issue has on the university, there are major effects on the community as well.

“This affects the accessibility of Calgary,” said Schultz, who was concerned for parents of prospective U of C students. “That’s 1,000 high school students who aren’t in university this year.”

There was some controversial speculation as to the reasons behind this discrepancy.

“Did some faculties let in fewer students on purpose to artificially raise the GPA in that faculty?” speculated West. “If so, that’s not acceptable.”

Patterson said that it was hard to interpret what the motivations behind the lower enrollment were, while Cooney was quick to disagree with West’s speculation.

“I would be surprised that anyone would suggest that.”

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