Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tuition, tuition and debt

There has been a lot of buzz around the school lately about tuition levels. Student presidents have been talking to deans and government officials. Posters on bulletin boards state that tuition could rise by 43% but nobody really knows if this option has been tabled. From what I hear, it seems like the discussions have been going well (i.e. actual dialogue). Let's hope the results are favourable.

Currently, law students at Queen's pay about $9,900 in tuition - an amount which has remained the same for three straight years. When I originally researched law schools in Canada, I remember reading information with a table of tuition increases at Queen's. If memory serves, they had projected the 2005-2006 tuition to increase to about $10,800 and then increase again in 2006-2007 to about $12,000. I think if we can negotiate a 4% - 6% increase in tuition levels most students would be happy. The question becomes: for the minority of law students who can't afford any increase in tuition levels, will the government/universities provide adequate funding for bursaries and scholarships?


At 11:45 AM, Anonymous MikeP said...

Here at Dal, tuition increases are an issue as well. The Nova Scotia government has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Dalhousie. This commits the university to undergraduate tuition increases of something like 3.9% over three years.

In contrast, the professional faculties (Law, Med, Dentistry) will face three consecutive increases of 10% as a result of the same agreement.

The rationale behind this ranges from the absurd (Higher cost programs, should have higher fees --> Law and Med should pay the same amount), to the surreal (Lifetime earning potential justifies higher fees. --> We're all going to be rolling in it, so we have to pay more).

We've been making efforts through the Law Students Society at Dal to educate Dal's Board of Governors about the fallacy of equating the earning prospects of law students with students in Dentistry and Med.

It seems to me this perception of law students making mad money is what fuels most of this tuition increase talk. Folks don't seem to realize that the more debt you pile on a student, the more likely graduates will avoid alternative careers in the public interest.

As a first year student, I feel bad for those students who find themselves without a job in third year, and I'm afraid of being in that situation myself one day. Debt is a motivating factor as much as anything else in law school.

At 2:05 AM, Blogger þΛųL jØŋαŦhΛŋ said...

until and unless the next generation of law students affirm that they are, first and foremost, interested in the academic and sociopolitical aspect of the study of law, then this commodification of our education is bound to continue...


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