By Karlie Mickanuik

The long awaited tuition increase is officially coming to NAIT.

NAIT students received an email in early March directly stating that tuition rates will be increasing for the 2020-21 academic year.

All programs will see an increase in tuition of some kind. The majority of programs will see an increase of seven per cent except for academic upgrading and optical sciences. These programs will be increasing their fees by two per cent and ten per cent respectively.

NAIT had previously confirmed earlier this academic year that international students would be receiving a ten per cent increase to their tuition starting in September 2020.

Jeff Dumont, the Vice President Administration and Chief Financial Officer at NAIT says being honest with students about the increase of tuition is important so students can better plan for their future studies.

“Because the tuition increase decision impacts our students directly, I thought it was important to share more about why and how the decision was made,” said Dumont.

Dumont says one of the reasons NAIT is increasing its tuition rates is because of the tuition freeze that was in place for the past five years. The tuition freeze stopped public post-secondary schools from raising their tuition for students.

The current Alberta government, the United Conservative Party, made a statement last October stating they were removing the tuition freeze that past governments had put in place. Now schools are able to increase tuition by seven per cent every year for the next three years.

The Alberta government also stated in October that they will be cutting government grant funding to post-secondary schools by nearly eight per cent. Dumont says the operating costs of NAIT have increased due to inflation and are no longer sustainable with the tuition freeze in place. Students tuition is now increasing.

“Increasing tuition is one measure NAIT is taking to respond to current budget pressures. These pressures are common to our fellow post-secondaries in the province and many are making similar tuition decisions,” said Dumont.

Dumont stated in the email to students that the success of NAIT students is important to the institute and the school aims to continue to uphold quality education amidst the tuition rise.

“Access and affordability of your education are important considerations for us when we make decisions related to tuition,” said Dumont.

NAIT has one of the lowest tuition costs for post-secondary schools within the province of Alberta. Dumont says even with the increase to NAIT’s tuition, the school’s fees will still remain relatively low in comparison to other colleges, universities and polytechnic schools around the province.

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