AUSU This Month – AU Students Applaud Affordability Framework

AU Students Applaud Affordability Framework
New policy addresses many concerns, but barriers still exist

Athabasca University Students’ Union – Friday’s press release on the Affordability Framework for Post-Secondary education included a number of surprises and addressed many of the concerns expressed in AUSU’s 2005 submission to the A Learning Alberta Steering Committee’s post-secondary review.

Requests from AUSU’s wish list that have been addressed by the report include:

“¢ Tuition rollbacks to 2004 levels with assurance that future tuition increases will be limited to the Alberta Consumer Price Index. While 2004’s tuition rates are still too high and continue to present a barrier for many students, the limit on increases was one of AUSU’s most important wish list items and an important first step in addressing the affordability issues encountered by Alberta students.

“¢ More financial support for part-time students. AUSU represents many adult learners who are studying part-time, and these new supports will ensure that more of our members can remain in the workforce while furthering their educations.

“¢ Lifetime student loan limits will be extended for students who have repaid previous loans. Many AUSU members are returning students with prior loans who encounter funding roadblocks despite having repaid their previous debts. AUSU is excited about this change which will go a long way toward fulfilling Alberta’s promise to foster lifelong learning.

One item that was not specifically requested by AUSU, which we are delighted to see in the new policy, is the requirement that universities and the government must consult with students groups – who are, after all, those most affected by the policy – before making any changes. We are excited about being among the students’ groups who will work with the Advanced Education Ministry on future policy revisions.

It is clear that the Alberta government gave serious consideration to the input of students groups and stakeholders when developing their recommendations and the tuition fee policy. AUSU feels that new policy is a promising sign of things to come.

AUSU Tutor of the Year

AUSU has launched the first annual Tutor of the Year Award. AUSU members may select up to three of their favourite tutors and we’ll tally the votes and honour the top tutor with a certificate, gift, and recognition on this website over the coming year. Now is your chance to say thank you to the tutors who have helped you most. Visit our front page at http://www.ausu.org to find a link to a form to cast your vote. Deadline for voting is November 30, 2006.

AUSU Planners are out of Stock

The 2005/2006 AUSU Handbook/Planner is now out of stock. We’re working on finalizing the design for the 2007 edition and welcome any feedback you wish to share. Please contact Tamra at executivedirector@ausu.org if you have any suggestions for the new books. The design has already been modified and updated to incorporate suggestions from AUSU members who replied to our planner survey in the last edition.

Last year’s edition included a handbook section, designed in house by AUSU, and a planner section, which was licensed from the planner printing company. That company is, unfortunately, no longer in business so we’re taking over and creating our own design for the planner section of the book to produce a planner that’s developed 100% by AUSU for our members!

Updates we’ve already incorporated include a larger monthly calendar view, now on two pages instead of one, and larger weekly planning pages, which also now use two pages for a week, rather than one. The tutor information pages will be expanded to allow for tracking of assignments and course grades.

Those interested in obtaining a copy of the 2007 planner should watch our website front page. We’ll be posting notices as soon as we’re taking orders.

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