Proposal for Exceptional Student Increase

In accordance with the Alberta Tuition Framework, the University of Alberta Faculty of Law is consulting with the Law Students’ Association and Faculty of Law students to discuss the possibility of an exceptional increase for tuition starting in Fall 2022.

No decisions will be made until student consultations have been completed. Dean Barbara Billinglsey welcomes open and honest feedback from the student body on this proposal and can be reached directly at lawdean@ualberta.ca.

As students are in exams until the end of April, opportunities for student consultation and discussion with the dean about this proposal are being organized for early May.

If the possibility for this increase moves beyond the consultation phase, it would still require further institutional and government consideration and approval.

FAQs

  • How much is the proposed tuition increase?

    The proposal is to increase tuition from the presently planned $12,520.72 per year for students entering the JD program in Fall 2022 to $16,967.33 per year. (This is a net 35.51% increase over the tuition rate currently planned for Fall 2022).

  • Why is the Faculty of Law seeking a possible exceptional tuition increase?

    Tuition impacts the Faculty’s ability to offer top-quality legal education and critical student services. Government support for post-secondary education has been diminishing, and without increased tuition, the quality of our program is at risk. If approved, the tuition increase will be used to sustain and improve the quality of our program for our students so that the Faculty remains a competitive law program.

  • If approved, what would the tuition increase be used for?

    20% of the requested tuition increase is dedicated to providing student financial assistance (e.g. recruitment awards, bursaries and scholarships).

    The remainder of the tuition increase will be used to improve the quality of our programming by hiring faculty (which would enable us to reduce the faculty/student ratio, replace retiring faculty members, expand course offerings and reduce class size) and to serve increasing needs for academic, career and diversity supports for our students. We will be seeking student input on how to prioritize among these various initiatives.

  • I am concerned about the barriers for low-income students that this proposal may create if it is approved. What is the Faculty’s plan to address this concern?

    The proposal recognizes that, without other initiatives, increased tuition may create a barrier of entry to the study of Law and that equity, diversity and inclusion are a top priority in this context. The proposal therefore allocates 20% of the requested tuition increase to student financial aid (e.g. recruitment awards, bursaries and scholarships).

  • The Faculty has committed to meaningful improvements to equity, diversity and inclusion. How will the Faculty stand by these promises?

    Equity, diversity and inclusion remain a priority for the Faculty, and the proposal builds on this commitment by continuing to invest in EDI initiatives. A portion of the increased tuition will be dedicated to providing supports to students who have been historically underrepresented in the legal profession.

  • I am a current or incoming law student. Will my tuition increase?

    In accordance with government regulation, students enrolled in the JD program prior to Fall 2022 will not pay the increased tuition. If you are an incoming student for Fall 2021 or you are a current law student, you are exempt from the proposed exceptional tuition increase. Your tuition rate will also be “grandfathered,” meaning that even in the second and third years of study, you will not be assessed the proposed exceptional tuition increase.

  • How did the Faculty determine the dollar amount for the proposed tuition increase?

    The Faculty of Law’s current tuition is below average when compared to similarly ranked law Faculties in Canada. The average tuition of the Faculty’s three major competitor programs is $17,110.17. The value of the proposed tuition increase was determined with reference to this number. The proposed tuition increase would place the University of Alberta Faculty of Law in the mid-range of tuition pricing among Canadian law faculties.

  • Why is the Faculty of Law not pursuing other avenues of funding?

    The Faculty of Law is always looking for ways to support our students and enhance the legal education we provide. We are deeply proud of the generous donors and alumni who contribute to our Faculty’s mission and give back to our community. Gifts to our Faculty are restricted and allocated for specific purposes, and they are not included in the Faculty’s operating budget. The Faculty is dependent on tuition and government funding to operate.

  • If tuition is raised, won’t the program be uncompetitive?

    If approved, the tuition increase would bring the Faculty of Law back in line with tuition levels at peer law programs across Canada. The Faculty of Law’s tuition as of 2020/2021 is in the bottom 20% of Canadian law programs while our program is ranked in the top 10 of JD programs in Canada, as determined by University Magazine in March 2020. The proposed tuition increase would place our program in the mid-range of tuition among Canadian law Faculties.

  • Have any decisions been made?

    No decisions have been made. The proposal is currently in a consultation phase with the Law Students’ Association and Faculty of Law students. If the proposal moves beyond consultation, it would still require further institutional and government consideration and approval.

  • I want my voice to be heard. What opportunities are there for feedback?

    Consultation with students on this proposal is a vital part of this process. As students are heading into exams, opportunities for discussion are being organized for after the exam period, starting in early May. At this time, students can submit anonymous feedback via the Google Form they received in their inbox. The dean welcomes feedback and can be reached directly at lawdean@ualberta.ca.

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