September 3, 1999
I just could not help commenting on the "at least five reasons to consider a major increase in international undergraduate tuition fees," which I spotted in Folio, May 21, 1999, because they are indeed response- and indignation-provocative.
Quote: "In the minds of some foreign students, low cost means low quality."
What about some other students for whom $6,000 - $7,000, that constitutes the present tuition fee, is just enough to pump every cent from the quite depletable resources? I hope we are not talking here about "some" elite and the cream of society but about the majority of foreign students who contemplate the possibility of entering a degree program in a university outside their native country. It is a good idea to keep in mind that the privilege to obtain a decent education does not belong to the rich only. And perhaps, these are the exorbitant tuition fees that restrict many of my peers from even considering the challenge of going to study abroad. It is because the fees at the U of A are not $13,000 a year that I am at the U of A and not at the University of British Columbia or Mount Allison, for example. And if the tuition rises higher than I can bear, you will see me leaving for the University of Calgary or elsewhere where my purse can breathe and where I can sustain my living and school in a more humane and financially, internationally friendly environment.
Quote: "The U of A needs additional funds to offer significant scholarships to academically excellent international students."
Maybe I am not an "academically excellent" student. I am a normal international student, struggling, doing my job as everyone else. Maybe I am not capable of obtaining any of your scholarships. (Some of these scholarships would not even help cover the cost of one single course in one semester.) So what? Am I not then worthy enough to get at least as much as I can from attending the university on the less or more tolerable conditions? We all come to school from different backgrounds .
Quote: "...to bring in 'the highest potential individuals and nurture them in a superb academic and social environment that is international, safe, supportive and challenging.'"
Do you mean that right now the U of A does not possess all these qualities? Do you feel today the "two per cent" population of international students at the U of A are deprived of any amenities, challenges, safety and support? No matter how you strive, there is always room for unattainable perfection. I respect my University as it is now. The present conditions are adequate and conducive enough for the development of my academic proficiency.
Quote: "We've been losing the market share."
I surmised as much: the straight commodity approach to the university education made me a unit of a marketable article with a six-digit tag on my forehead. (Do they include me into the Consumer Price Index?) The tuition can be raised as much as the one in Harvard-still, who is determined to go to Harvard will go to Harvard. The rules on the education market were seeded and propagated a long time ago. No need to fool yourselves: you do not spread the glory about the excellence of your education by raising the cost for international students.
I want to thank Julie Harris, Laura Bonnett and all individuals and organizations for taking a stance of opposition to the raising of tuition fees for international students. My low bow to the Students' Union for its support of international students.
I am strongly convinced $710.16 per three-credit course is more than enough and is already the brink between affordable and impossible. You, people-proponents of such a violent increase, don't even realize how hard this money comes, at what price, and you often forget that not everyone happens to be born and lives on a treasure island.
But why should I let myself worry? I am protected by the "grandfather clause." Thank you very much.
Undergraduate international student
On Friday, Aug.27, my father, Professor Alexander Matejko, suffered a fatal heart attack near the Faculty Club. He was walking with a friend, who called out for help, and a number of people immediately came to assistance. A man administered CPR and stayed until the ambulance arrived. Several other people helped in various ways.
We would like to express our deep gratitude to those people whose names unfortunately we don't know. We would like them to know that it is a great comfort to know they were there to help.