AUSU Update – AU Students urge candidates to improve university funding

AU Students urge candidates to improve university funding

AU students are concerned about the financial health of Athabasca University and the effect of recent news stories on the reputation of the AUSU membership.

A recent CBC report notes that in recent years the university has made a series of reserve draws to cover budget shortfalls, draining the once $30-million reserve fund.

Tuition and fees at AU, meanwhile, continue to increase despite the concerns of AUSU that education is becoming increasingly unaffordable in Alberta.

?I’m very concerned about AU’s financial situation,? says AUSU President Bethany Tynes. ?AU is increasing student fees, observing hiring freezes, denying sabbaticals, delaying projects, and downsizing their offices due to a lack of available funds. We don’t want to see the quality of our education diminish.?

?At the same time,? Tynes continues, ?I am confused by AU Board Chair Barry Walker’s comment to the CBC that AU is ?in a very sound financial position,? as the concerns we’ve noted do not support the notion that we’re financially sound.?

Chronic underfunding of public post-secondary education is a factor in AU’s financial stress. AU students have lobbied Alberta in recent years to address the shortfall; our members call on the candidates in Alberta’s provincial election to make post-secondary funding a priority in their platforms and to ensure that all Alberta universities are funded equally and sufficiently. Public post-secondary institutions need a reliable, predictable funding model that provides sufficient base operating funds to support a world-class education.

Athabasca University Students’ Union is the largest students’ union in Alberta, representing nearly 40,000 undergraduates annually.

Media Contact:
Tamra Ross, Executive Director, AUSU
1-800-788-9041 extension 2905
executivedirector@ausu.org

This column is provided by AUSU to facilitate communication with its members. The Voice does not write or edit this section; all content has been exclusively and directly provided by AUSU, and any questions or comments about the material should be directed to ausu@ausu.org.

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