Higher education has become one of the most valuable commodities in the contemporary world. Higher education plays valuable roles such as being the engine for technological advancement and economic development, a platform for workplace training, as well as repository of the general human knowledge (Losco & Fife 73). Achievement of higher education remains as one of the most significant envy of many, yet rising costs of higher education are moving it far beyond the reach of those who need it the most.
It is crucial that new ideologies be formed to address the challenges facing higher education institutions such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University that contribute to their rising fees. Funding higher education is characterized by the spending of large amounts of public resources.
Despite the fact that this spending affects the opportunities of many, majority have not had sufficient access to either higher education or the structure that makes decisions regarding higher education. This essay paper seeks to investigate the increasing fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
2. An Overview of Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Kwantlen is a modern and dynamic institution of higher learning established in 1981 by the government of British Columbia. Kwantlen Polytechnic University has four main campuses offering over 120 degree, diploma, certificate, as well as citations academic programs.
The four campuses are located in the British Columbia’s Vancouver Metro region in Cloverdale, Surrey, Langley and Richmond. The current annual student population of Kwantlen Polytechnic University is approximately 17,500 students. The university polytechnic designs, develops and offers academic programs as well as other applied credentials geared towards meeting both current and future needs of regional, as well as international employment markets.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University provides its students with an opportunity to bridge or rather upgrade their certificate, as well as diploma academic credentials into degrees. This is crucial as it enhances academic and professional bridging of both applied and technical academic programs.
The main role of Kwantlen Polytechnic University is to serve the British Columbia region through innovation, research and teaching. The university polytechnic is committed to serving the diverse need of the region.
As a dynamic and modern institution of higher learning in Canada, Kwantlen Polytechnic University prioritizes the academic and learning needs of its students. This prioritization of students’ academic and learning needs is achieved through focusing on integrating theory, practice and critical thinking and insight.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University is also committed to providing its students with the necessary understanding and skills to enable them to become aware, engaged, as well as responsible citizens. The programs offered at Kwantlen Polytechnic University is also geared towards enabling students pursue fulfilling academic, professional, as well as technical carriers.
As a learning or rather teaching, research and innovations institution of higher learning, Kwantlen Polytechnic University emphasizes the need for its programs to promote human capacity in influencing and improving the world. The quest to achieve this entire mandate is one of the most important factors that continue to influence the increasing fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University also embedded multiple pathways into the traditional, as well as career programs that it offers its students. The requirements of completing these programs cost a little more than the conventional degree programs offered in other institutions of higher learning in the region. This is one of the determinants for the increasing fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University offers students degree, diploma, certificate, as well as citation programs in broad areas of science disciplines and traditional liberal arts, technology fields and in trades, as well as other professional and career- based programs. Diploma, certificate and citation programs offered at Kwantlen Polytechnic University are specially designed in order to bridge into career and professional degree programs.
The university polytechnic offers highly successful, professional and career-oriented programs in qualified studies. This enables Kwantlen Polytechnic University to provide students of varied abilities and talents with access pathways to support and opportunities to enable them achieve their full potential.
In order to realize this commitment, Kwantlen Polytechnic University has to raise its fees which will be felt by the students in catering for the financial requirements of their career and professional programs. In order to meet the needs of non-tradition students’ quest for additional academic, career and professional opportunities, the students must be ready to meet the full costs of such programs.
3. Increasing Fees in Post-Secondary Institutions
3.1 Background Information
Sweet and Anisef (57) posit that higher education has been a shared responsibility of the state through taxes, the students and the parents through their own savings. Higher education is associated with benefits and financial compensation in the long run, hence the need to pursue learning at institutions of higher learning such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Studies have related higher levels of education to increased earnings and low rates of unemployment, hence justifying the increasing need and personal responsibility for the increasing costs of obtaining higher education (Sweet & Anisef 57).
Recent policies in Canada regarding students education funding emphasizes the role of individual students in paying for a portion of the higher education. These higher education policies in Canada are geared towards creating consistency in restructuring between the education sector and other public sectors such as public service and health.
However, the looser in all these educational restructuring policies is the student from financially disadvantaged background. These groups of students have found it extremely difficult to marshal the necessary financial resources in order to gain entry or rather access to institutions of higher learning such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University (Sweet & Anisef 57).
In 1995 a program dubbed Canadian Health and Social transfer (CHST) was introduced by the federal government to facilitate post-secondary school education (Sweet & Anisef 58). The program involved federal funding reductions in terms of the transfer of resources to institutions of higher learning, health and social welfare.
The response of the provinces such as British Columbia was higher fees and reduced grants to public institutions of higher learning such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University. According to Sweet and Anisef (Sweet & Anisef 58), this response shifted the financial responsibility of funding higher education to the students and their families. Between 1998 and 1999, the fees paid by students accounted for above 20% of institutions of higher learning revenues.
There is disparity in terms of the fees attributed to students from province to province. For example, in the province of Nova Scotia fees paid by students accounted for 28.5 % of the revenue of universities. The increasing fees of institution of higher learning in Canada between 1993 and 2004 has rose up to 98.9 % with the province of Ontario having the greatest increase of 137.2 % and the province of Quebec having the lowest increase of 20.2 % (Sweet & Anisef 58).
In the province of British Columbia where Kwantlen Polytechnic University is located, a tuition fee freeze of seven years was instituted up to 2001-2002 academic year. The tuition fee freezing resulted into a 5 % reduction in the cost of funding higher education (Sweet & Anisef 58).
However, after the elections of the Campbell administration, tuition fees were deregulated and institutions of higher learning such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University started increasing their fees to the national average up to 2006. The deregulation of tuition fees by the Campbell government was the beginning of the increasing fees of most institution of higher learning such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University in the province of British Columbia (Sweet & Anisef 58).
Higher education plays essential roles of providing avenues for students to pursue opportunities in learning, research, innovation and public social service. More than three quarters of students in higher learning institutions are usually enrolled in public institutions of higher learning such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University in the British Columbia region.
This therefore, means that universities, colleges and other institutions of higher learning must always operate in a manner that upholds the quality of programs provided to students despite the hard economic times, rising inflation rates, as well as the sky-rocking prices (Kane& Orszag 2). Thus, any decline in the quality of academic, career and professional programs offered by institutions of higher learning could result into troubling implications.
The funding of public institutions of higher learning such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University is closely related to the quality of such institutions. Funding restrictions is a critical issue of concern because it substantially influences the quality of public institutions of higher learning (Kane& Orszag 2).
The level of quality of institutions of higher learning such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University influences, social well-being, income inequality, as well as macro-economic performance of a regions such as British Columbia. The quest for the maintenance of quality of Kwantlen Polytechnic University is a significant reason for the increasing fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
An interesting concern would be whether smooth and sustainable state funding of institutions of higher learning like Kwantlen Polytechnic University would help with the reduction of fees of such institutions.
The expenditure arising from various operational, instructional, researches, academic are some of the most important functions of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University that has led to the increasing fees (Kane& Orszag 5). Thus, by smoothing financial assistance for higher education is likely affect the current trend Kwantlen Polytechnic University appropriations as an institution of higher learning.
If the state of British Columbia initiates long term horizons and budgets over the medium and long-term, then funding of public institutions will significantly determine the level of appropriations of expenditure in institutions such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University. In the long run the chargeable fees at Kwantlen Polytechnic University will significantly normalize (Kane& Orszag15).
However, since this is not the case, the fees levied on students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University continue to increase. The increasing fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University aimed at bridging the gap created by unlimited financial support from the public sector (Kane& Orszag 15).
The increasing fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University without any offsetting means of aid to lower-income group of students negatively influences the ability of such students to fully meet the financial requirements of their programs. Despite the fact that increasing fees will enable Kwantlen Polytechnic University to operate effectively and provide qualified learning, research, innovation and public social service, the increase have a disproportionate impact on students from low income backgrounds.
The increasing fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been attributed to the rising costs of learning materials, institutional operation, the remuneration of instructors and other staff, inflationary pressures among other simple economic factors (Kane& Orszag 15).
Since funding offered by the provincial treasury does not adequately cater for the needs of Kwantlen Polytechnic University amidst the above simple economic consideration, this financial burden is passed onto the students by increasing fees.
4. Educational Programs and the Mandate of Kwantlen Polytechnic University
The university polytechnic seeks to offer curriculum programs and services that are essential in preparing their students to be global-oriented citizens. Doing so would mean Kwantlen Polytechnic University spends more on designing and developing educational, career and professional programs that mould students to become global citizens.
This will eventually be reflected in the students fee, hence the rise of fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Kwantlen Polytechnic University continues to emphasize its role as a significant centre for cultural, educational, learning, innovation and recreational for communities in British Columbia region.
In order to mould its students into being global citizens, Kwantlen Polytechnic University recognizes the critical role that indigenous, international and cross-cultural perspectives play in its curriculum programs. Thus, Kwantlen Polytechnic University seeks to emphasize its position as an attractive and favourable alternative option for consideration by international students seeking qualified educational, career as well as professional opportunities.
The rising fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University can also be attributed to the fact that Kwantlen Polytechnic University, as an institution of higher learning recognizes the importance of diversity, as well as freedom of expression and belief. Kwantlen Polytechnic University thus, is committed to providing its diverse student population with a secure and supportive environment for learning and individual fulfillment.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University was first established as a community college, and then upgraded to a university college, and now the institution is Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Kwantlen Polytechnic University is the only public post?secondary institution of higher learning in the south Fraser area west of Abbotsford. One of the critical goals of Kwantlen Polytechnic University is to offer their students a variety of postsecondary education educational, professional and technical programs to choose from.
In addition to degrees, diplomas, certificate and citation programs, Kwantlen Polytechnic University offer an extensive trades training program at our Cloverdale campus. Kwantlen Polytechnic University Cloverdale campus works closely with both local and provincial employers in order to generate placements to students who graduate at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (Murray 1).
Other programs offered at Kwantlen Polytechnic University include an Adult Special Education program for adults and the elderly. English as a Second Language is another important program offered by Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University program on Adult Basic Education, as well as the program on Developmental Education are designed and developed to provide Kwantlen Polytechnic University students with the opportunity to complete their high school education and upgrade their skills. They are aimed at enabling students attain the necessary essential pre?requisites to pursue undergraduate programs, as well as to improve their educational, career and professional options (Murray 1).
The nature and the requirements of these comprehensive programs means that their cost have to be slightly higher on the sides of the students, hence the rising fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Kwantlen is a derived word that means “tireless runner”. This represents Kwantlen Polytechnic University emphasis on quality and excellence.
As such, Kwantlen Polytechnic University in tireless quest for learning, research and innovation emphasizes the significance of upholding the values of the first Kwantlen First Nation. Learning, wisdom, distinctiveness and dignity of the culture of Kwantlen First Nation are embedded in the institution’s belief that all forms of culture around the globe in general and the British Columbia region in particular enrich each other.
This belief provides all students with the opportunity for cross-cultural understanding, interaction, as well as fulfillment. Therefore, Kwantlen Polytechnic University students find it easy to fit into the global employment and professional market after their graduation at the institution.
For e institutions of higher learning such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University to sustainably achieve their objectives of providing students with quality programs, they must have access to huge amounts of funding. As such, operating grants coming from the province are crucial sources of funding for institutions of learning in the British Columbia region.
These operating grants are the largest single form of investment that the provincial authority makes in the institutions of higher learning in the region. However, these operating grants by the provincial authorities have not been adequate considering either the current basic inflation rates or the rapid increase in the number of students being admitted at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
As a result, student operating grants with regard to the province real grant have declined by over 8 percent since the year 2001 (Murray 2). To cater for or rather make up for the decline, institutions like Kwantlen Polytechnic University are left with raising the fees as the only other available option.
This means that institutions of higher learning or rather, post secondary school learning institutions such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University have to do a lot with very little.
While institutions of higher learning such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University are mandated to provide students with the courses and services they need to be successful, Kwantlen Polytechnic University struggles with tighter and tighter financial budgets. This is a solid reason for the rising fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. In all these, the casualty remains to be the students (Murray 2).
Financial constraints in institutions of higher learning make it more and more difficult for the students to get into courses or to receive services that are essential for their programs. For instance, students have to deal with the growing waiting lists for program offerings that are critical for them to complete their incitation, certificate, diploma or degree programs (Murray 2). Thus, Kwantlen Polytechnic University has to raise its fees to be able to provide adequately for the students program needs.
Affordability is a notable challenge that has led to the rising fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Fees especially tuition fees for an undergraduate degree programs have risen by more than double within the last 10 years (Murray 2). The rising fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University may not have dented the levels of enrolment at the institution, but it has impacted negatively on the operations of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Students now left with no other option than to take on much higher financial debt than was the case with their counterparts who studied at Kwantlen Polytechnic University ten years ago. Canadian Federation of Students, has expressed concerns over the $27,000 debt that an average student is forced to graduate with (Murray 2).
Students are forced to take much longer time periods to complete their incitation, certificate, diploma or degree programs. This is because the rising fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University mean with greater debt, hence the pressure and need to work part?time to be able to cater for the rising fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University (Murray 2).
The affordability crunch with relation to the institution’s cost of operation, remuneration package of instructors and other employees and the rising cost of learning materials and equipments are simple economic factors that have also contributed to the rising fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. These simple economic factors have distorted how much tuition fee revenue determines the overall revenue picture at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
In 2001 for instance, tuition fee revenues at Kwantlen Polytechnic University amounted to slightly above $ 11 million (Murray 2). This $ 11 million translated into approximately 13% of Kwantlen Polytechnic University total revenue. By 2011, tuition fee revenue has risen from $ 11 million in 2001 to approximately above $ 44 million (Murray 2). This is simply a fourfold tuition fees increase at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
This figure of tuition fees, account for approximately above 30% of total Kwantlen Polytechnic University revenues (Murray, 2). The rising fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University over a relatively short period of time, begs a number of questions. Questions revolving around intergenerational disparities arise.
People start asking questions, such as why the current generations of Kwantlen Polytechnic University students are paying much higher fees for their education than was the case with their counterparts in earlier generations. In a normal circumstance, inter?generational equity has to find a balance at some point. Making students to pay a third of their education costs today, when previous students paid only half that number strikes simple logic a situation profoundly out of balance (Murray 2).
According to Kwantlen Faculty Association (KFA), internationalization of education at Kwantlen Polytechnic University is another contributing factor to the rising fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University (Murray 3). Kwantlen Polytechnic University, many universities and colleges in the British Columbia region, recognizes the value of internationalizing their educational programs.
The institution has a long and distinguished history of opening doors of learning, career and professional opportunities to both international students and staff. Internationalization of education programs at Kwantlen Polytechnic University is not only crucial for the students, who are in a position to access a quality education within British Columbia, but also crucial for Kwantlen Polytechnic University as an institution and the university’s domestic students (Murray 3).
The domestic students for example, will be able to engage in the diversity that results from having international and multi-cultural students within Kwantlen Polytechnic University classrooms. This is an important dimension of the institution’s curriculum and programs in preparing its graduate students for a world employment, career and professional opportunities driven by the forces of globalization (Murray 3).
5. Why the Increasing Fees of Institutions of Higher Learning Such As Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Diminishing government funding of institutions of higher learning such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University, is a major contributing factor in the increasing fees of such institutions in Canada. The provincial administration of British Columbia has not adequately funded institutions such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University prompting Kwantlen to seek funding from other sources among them increasing tuition fees paid by their students, seeking funding from the private sector, as well as other non-academic fees (Clarke & Dopp 12).
This puts a lot of pressure on students especially on those from financially disadvantaged backgrounds thereby further complicating the prospects for attaining higher education. The trouble for the Canadian students started way back in 2003, when the liberal government came to power and cut off federal transfers to post-secondary institutions such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
The provinces on the other hand, denounced the moves but have not done enough to address the issue of increasing tuition fees (Clarke & Dopp 12). Therefore, Kwantlen Polytechnic University increases its fees due to financial deficit that it experiences due to diminishing funding from both the federal and the provincial administrations.
A significant source of the rising fees of institutions of higher learning such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University, results from their current financial expenditures and transfers. Expenditures incurred by institutions such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University for purposes of their operation include those incurred in acquiring capital assets like library books, laboratory equipments to mention but a few (Losco & Fife 74).
Other expenditures that necessitate budgeting and transfers by institutions of higher learning include academic support, research, institutional support, student services, scholarships and fellowships, hospitals, public service, auxiliary services, maintenance of physical facilities, as well as independent operations of institutions of higher learning.
Auxiliary expenditures are also incurred by institutions such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University to facilitate institutional operations. Independent expenditures are incurred on operations not related to the primary objectives of the institution. Primary roles of Kwantlen Polytechnic University include learning, research and innovation (Losco & Fife 74).
Instructions are other sources of the increasing fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Instructions consist of expenditure by institutions of higher learning within their various departments, schools, faculties, as well as other instructional divisions within an institution of higher learning (Losco & Fife 75). Instructional expenditures also include costs incurred by departmental public service and research which are usually budgeted for separately by institutions of higher learning.
Instructional expenditures also arise from activities such as those that include general academic instruction, vocational and occupational instructions. Other programs that are involved in these expenditures are community education, special session instructions, basic adult education, preparatory and remedial instructions (Priest & John 116). Finances for these spending are generated from the fees paid by students, hence the increasing fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Research is another source of the increasing fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. As an institution of higher learning research is one of the primary functions of the institution besides, learning and innovation. The expenditure of institutions of higher learning such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University includes activities geared towards producing research outcomes. These activities can be commissioned by an agency either internal or external to an institution (Losco & Fife 75).
At some point in the course of learning, students are also required to carry out their own research as part of partial requirement for the fulfillment of their academic programs. All these requirement need to be funded from some source, of which students fees is a source. The need for institutions of higher learning such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University to achieve their mandate of carrying out activities that produce research outcomes prompts them to increase fees charged on students.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University must support public service, academic activities, student services and the institution itself in order to operate effectively. In so doing, funds are budgeted for and set aside to finance these functions. Kwantlen Polytechnic University offers public service as part of their corporate social responsibility to the British Columbia community and public.
Some of these services include free seminars and community trainings, expenditures incurred for the benefit of the general public, as well as cooperative extension services (Losco & Fife, 75).
Academic services supported by Kwantlen Polytechnic University include those that are integral part of the primary role of learning, research and innovation. These services or activities are usually embedded in the incitation, certificate, diploma and degree programs that are offered at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. They must be funded to be successful, hence the increasing fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University (Losco & Fife 75).
Students’ services that must be financed include admissions services and registration activities. Others include those that contribute to the physical and emotional wellbeing, social, cultural and intellectual development of the students (Losco & Fife 75).
Lastly, institutional support involves day-to-day operation of the institution of higher learning. Institutional operations include administrative functions, planning, and public relations, fiscal and legal services among others.
These service need to be funded for Kwantlen Polytechnic University to operate effectively (Losco & Fife 75). Due to increased rate of inflation and the cost of producing various services, the funding of these essential services are passed onto the students through increasing the fees they are charged for various educational programs.
Other institutional functions that contribute to the increasing fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University include the operation and maintenance of physical plants, scholarships and fellowships in the form of grants-in-aid, prizes, pell grants, fee waivers and students’ stipends (Losco & Fife 75).
Other functions include both mandatory such as those which are legally binding and non-mandatory transfers made at the discretion of the governing board of the institution, auxiliary enterprises, hospitals and lastly independent operations.
All this operations at Kwantlen Polytechnic University must be adequately funding in order for the institution of higher learning to achieve its primary objectives of learning, research, innovation and public services (Priest & John 116). This is another reason for the increasing fee of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Despite the reasons for the increasing fees of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, the fact is this action diminishes access to higher education. The most disadvantaged groups are the students from financially handicapped backgrounds.
Thus the increasing fee in most institutions of higher learning limits these students from disadvantaged families (Forest and Kinser 12). However, institutions of higher learning such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University have to operate in order achieve their primary roles of learning, research, innovation and public social service. With diminishing financial grants from the provincial government, Kwantlen Polytechnic University is left with limited option to seek funding.
Such sources then include increased tuition fees in addition to the private sector sources and other non-academic fees sources. Increasing tuition fees places severe constraints on students pursuing higher education thereby further complicating accessibility in higher education.
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Kane, Thomas, & Orszag Peter. Funding Restrictions at Public Universities: Effects and Policy Implications. Washington DC: Brookings Institution, 2003. Print.
Losco, Joseph, & Fife Brian. Higher Education in Transition: The Challenges of the New Millennium. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000. Print.
Murray, Joel. “Address by Kwantlen Faculty Association (KFA) on October 6, 2011.” Web. 30 Nov. 2011.
Priest, Douglas, & John Edward. Privatization and Public Universities. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006. Print.
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