Board of Governors - APPENDIX V - October 28, 1999
The Campus and Community Affairs Committee held a public meeting on Monday evening, October 4, 1999. As is the case each year at this time, the focus of the meeting was on budgetary issues.
In advance of the meeting, members of the University and London community were informed, through advertisements and direct mailing, that they were invited to make recommendations, proposals or submissions to the Committee on any matter under the purview of the Board. Information was also posted on the Internet at http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/board/pubmtg.html.
The meeting was held in the Board Room, beginning at 5:00 p.m. In addition to Committee members, all other members of the Board were invited to attend this public meeting. Committee members present were: Jim Etherington (Chair), Lin Whittaker (Vice-Chair), Ryon Bateman, Ted Garrard, Wally Gibson, Madeline Lennon, Peter Mercer, Greg Moran, Harry Murray, Bill Peel, Jan Van Fleet, and Alan Weedon.
There was only one presentation scheduled for this meeting: Tuition Fees for Medical Programs. Presenting on behalf of the Hippocratic Council of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry were: Herbert Brill (External Vice-President Sr.), Michael Curry (External Vice-President Jr.), and Sheilagh Maguiness (2002 Class President).
Following the presentation, there was an opportunity for questions from the Committee and informal discussion. The Committee then met in closed session to review what it had heard, to determine whether further information might be warranted, and to decide on the course of action to be taken, if any.
Below is a summary of the presentation on behalf of the Hippocratic Council and conclusions reached by the Campus and Community Affairs Committee.
TUITION FEES FOR MEDICAL PROGRAMS
The presenters reviewed the substance of the presentations they made to CCAC in October 1998(1) and March 1999.(2) They also reviewed events that concluded with the Board referring back to the Senate its recommendation that medical tuition fees be frozen at $10,000 per year for 2000-01 and 2001-02 "with a request that SCUP [Senate Committee on University Planning] consult with the incoming Dean of Medicine & Dentistry and consider explicitly the implications of the forgone revenue for the academic and student-support programs in the Faculty."
Tuition for students entering the MD program in 1999 was $10,000 for the year, as approved by the Board in April 1999. Although the Board approved in 1998 a $1,500 fee for medical residents to come into effect in 1999, that resolution was effectively rescinded with the Board's approval of the 1999-2000 operating budget. An extract from the budget document:
Following extensive consultation and representations by students and faculty in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, it is recommended that the decisions taken by the Board in last year's budget plan to charge a $1,500 tuition fee to students in Western's medical residency program be rescinded. Although the arguments presented at that time still stand, the decision by three of Ontario's other medical schools not to charge the fee places our programs at a relative disadvantage in recruitment.
Based on a financial survey conducted in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, the presenters made their case for a tuition freeze, covering the following points:
Access to financial aid was a focal point of the students' presentation. In the first year of the $10,000 medical tuition fee (1998-99), OSAP-eligible first year medical students were each given a $2600 bursary. Subsequently, the students urged that there be three levels of bursary, depending on need, rather than the same amount going to all OSAP-eligible students. It was agreed that in 1999-2000 the amount given would be based on need but the average would still reflect the blanket bursary amount. Furthermore, students were to be informed by the end of August of the amount of assistance they could expect.
The presenters stated that financial aid to medical students has been insufficient to compensate for high tuition fees now being charged. They also asserted 50% of the Class of 2003 (first year entering class) reported that they received no financial aid, and of those who have received assistance, the average amount is $750. Most students were not informed of the amount of assistance they would be given, if any, until after August. The second year medical students met with Financial Aid Officers in September to discuss the situation. They were advised that in calculating financial aid requirements, a student's access to a Personal Line of Credit (PLC) is considered a resource. [The CIBC, for example, allows $15,000 per year from a PLC.] The students disagree with this approach: they argue that access to a PLC cannot be assured for every student and that borrowing only drives up their medical school debt.
Conclusions of the CCAC:
The CCAC agreed that the arguments put forward by the representatives of the Hippocratic Council with respect to tuition fees for students in Medicine and for Residents will be taken into account when the administration's recommendations for tuition levels for 2000-2001 are known. The Committee was advised that the administration does not yet have a position about tuition levels and related investment in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry: discussions between the Provost and the Dean on these matters will resume in December when the Dean returns from abroad. It is expected that the administration's recommendations on fees for all programs will be made public for discussion purposes in January or February.
Much of the Committee's deliberations centred on the financial aid issues and concerns that the medical students raised. The consensus was that members need clarification from the Registrar on a number of points before responding to that part of their presentation. Dr. Roma Harris will meet with the CCAC to provide the Committee with information about student financial aid issues, with particular focus on assistance for medical students. The Committee will provide a further report to the representatives of the Hippocratic Council and the Board of Governors following that meeting.
1. Ref. Board Agenda Exhibit IV, October 29, 1998.
2. Ref. Board Agenda Exhibit V, March 25, 1999.
2. Ref. Board Agenda Exhibit V, March 25, 1999.