Statement from U of A Board of Governors Chair, Michael Phair, in response to Edmonton Journal…

The university is facing significant financial challenges — a growing structural deficit as well as over-dependence on short-term…

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The university is facing significant financial challenges — a growing structural deficit as well as over-dependence on short-term investment income to fund operating costs. We are always concerned about affordability and accessibility for our students, and the university provides significant financial supports including scholarships, bursaries, and short-term loans. But the university cannot use either domestic tuition or the government grant to subsidize international fees, or residences and meal plans. Residences and meal plans are ancillary operations that must be self-funding. Our international students are required to pay the full cost of their education so that domestic students are not disadvantaged. We have made every effort to ensure the Minister and Ministry have been fully informed and understand the reasons behind the budget cut, and I’m surprised by the Minister’s comments in the Edmonton Journal earlier today.

I, together with all the members of our Board, care deeply about all of our students, and we are committed to the present-day and long-term financial health and viability of the University of Alberta. We have worked closely with the president and the administrative team to come up with viable solutions to the financial challenges. We also recognize their high level of skill and compensate them competitively. The Board’s vote to approve the fee increase and the budget occurred after thorough analysis and lengthy discussion of the facts and alternatives. It was not an easy decision because we understand the short-term impacts on students, faculty and staff alike. But we also understand the dangers of not taking action.

Michael Phair, Chair
University of Alberta Board of Governors