Thursday, March 27th, 2014

The Debate Rages Over Tuition Refunds in the Event of a Strike

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When professors and teachers strike, students expecting to receive tuition refunds usually come up short.

When professors and teachers strike, students expecting to receive tuition refunds and course reimbursements usually come up short.

The old adage, ‘you get what you pay for’ may not apply, literally, in the case of university education. In fact, when professors walk off the job, students expecting to receive instruction in return for the tuition they’ve paid may simply end up not getting what they paid for.

Cases are rampant where students have lost the battle. For example, in 2011, a 45-day strike at Brandon University, the second in three years, ended without tuition being refunded to petitioning students. Early in 2013, students affected by a three-week strike at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia were unsuccessful in their efforts to get a refund. Ditto for a York University strike that lasted for over three months, from November 6, 2008 to January 29, 2009. Students were only able to return to school after the province passed back-to-work legislation. Even though students lost weeks of instruction, not to mention the inconvenience of a late exam schedule, no reimbursement was issued, and a class action lawsuit was denied.

In a rare case of victory, the student union at the University of New Brunswick acheived what most of their peers elsewhere could not: a concession. After a three-week strike in January, UNB agreed to divvy up money saved from not paying professors and librarians during the strike “in recognition of the harships and inconvenience it caused …” Full time students were to expect a lump sum of over $200. As well, March break would be cancelled and exams pushed back to make up lost time.

Certain people, including some professors, believe that by paying tuition, a student is actually purchasing the ‘university experience’, which, according to them, is so much more than just instruction. Ask any student if they would pay the same amount they did for tuition solely for the right to use the campus library or computer lab. The answer would likely be a resounding ‘no’!

The idea that compressing classes and pushing back exams provides compensation for students is hard to accept for those whose leases end or who plan to start jobs immediately after school is out. The difficulties increase for students in courses such as final-year nursing who are required to have a certain amount of “clinical hours”, overseen by an instructor, before they can write their Canadian Registered Nur

Editorial Staff
Author: Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff at STUDY Magazine is a team of industry professionals.
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