TRU community asks for “re-investment” in university

Current funding model “outdated and insufficient” for TRU to offer full services

A joint statement made by TRU’s administration, student union and faculty association is asking the government to make it right when it comes to funding the university.

“We believe that the present funding model is outdated and insufficient. The needs of our region and of our students have evolved, and the a fifteen-year-old funding model no longer allows us to offer the necessary services to our students or to offer a full service university to our region and our province,” the statement reads.

The group identifies co-op education, academic advising, math and writing help centres, hands-on/experiential learning and summer school as key areas to be addressed.

The group also complained that TRU’s ability to focus on both research and teaching is compromised by the lack of funding. Chief among its complaints is that although TRU offers master’s programs and conducts research, it receives no government funding for those seats.

“We ask that our students and faculty receive equitable support to fulfill their legislated mandate; funding should be based on learning and innovation outcomes,” the statement concludes.

TRUSU’s submission to the B.C. Legislative Assembly’s standing committee on finance and government services provides four ways it wants the government to make changes:

  1. Focus resources by adopting tangible outcomes for participation, equity, completion, the transition from studies and institutional mandates.
  2. Reduce tuition to “improve participation and equity” while maintaining the annual two per cent cap on tuition increases.
  3. Increase the availability of grants to students to reduce reliance on student loans and also eliminate interest from student loans.
  4. Review TRU’s funding model, adjust per-student funding based on inflation and fully fund any reduction in fees.

In its report, TRUSU also outlined what it thinks these changes will cost the government. To establish a grant system that will reduce student debt load to $3,000 per year, it will cost $41.4 million. To eliminate interest on the provincial portion of student loans, another $30 million. And to index per-student funding to inflation, $36.9 million. In total, TRUSU puts the additional required investment at upwards of $108.3 million, plus additional per-student funding, plus funding additional reduction in fees.