AUSU council will be voting on the first reading of a proposed student fee increase during the April 10, 2018 council meeting. Council understands that any increase in fees is of concern to students, and AUSU council takes any fee increase very seriously. However, they also recognize the value of continuing to make improvements to the organization to bring quality services and resources to the membership.
A great deal of consideration and research has been put into the potential fee increase. Although AUSU always has and will continue to advocate for the lowest possible fees for post-secondary students, there are important reasons why a student union fee increase is being considered at this time.
Over the past few years, AUSU has worked to bring increased services, representation, and advocacy to the AUSU membership, as well as enhanced communications, transparency, and additional governance efforts. AUSU will continue to work to enhance its governance model, ensure broader representation on council, and a wider perspective on behalf of AUSU members.
While making significant efforts to reduce administrative costs, AUSU has operated on a deficit budget for the past three years, which is not sustainable. In order for AUSU to continue to maintain its existing efforts and plan for growth, it is important for council to consider options to meet the financial needs of the organization.
Consequently, AUSU is proposing to increase the student union fee from $3.00 per credit to $3.75 per credit, to take effect on October 1, 2018. The fee increase will be made by special resolution in accordance with AUSU Bylaws. The motion that will be voted on will be as follows:
What improvements has AUSU made in the past 2 years?
- Additional awards and bursaries, including the #Igo2AU Award, a one-time Peter MacKinnon Student Service Award, and numerous additional Returning Student Awards and Balanced Student Awards; as well as the increased convenience of online award applications and administration of a Health Care Bursary.
- A comprehensive Student Lifeline Health & Wellness program provided free for all members, including free short-term counselling, 24/7 support, free legal advice, depression center, community research and referrals, and thousands of online resources.
- An AU student mobile app provided free for all members with a very active campus community.
- A variety of discounts through partnerships with service providers such as FYidoctors, Shaw Communications, and Alliance Pharmacy.
- A new, mobile ready interactive website with state of the art features, relevant updates, regular events, social sharing, and a forum.
- Increased advocacy efforts with Athabasca University, including regular meetings with AU deans, directors, VP’s and the president, as well as seats on over 20 AU committees, including the Board of Governors.
- Significantly increased federal advocacy, including membership at the Canadian Alliance of Students’ Associations and participation in numerous initiatives such as Advocacy Week on Parliament Hill.
- Improved organizational management including implementation of a policy update schedule, executive compensation review process, bylaw overhaul, executive transition planning, improved budget process, and more.
- Significantly increased communication with the AUSU membership, including by-monthly e-newsletters, daily social media posts, blogs posts, news stories, welcome emails to all new students, and annual surveys, to name a few.
- Creation of two new full time AUSU staff positions to achieve our mission and increase relevancy.
- Improved transparency with the membership including posting monthly financials online and membership consultations for a variety of council initiatives.
- A major overhaul of The Voice Magazine, AUSU’s student publication, including a new logo and a new, mobile friendly website that includes social media sharing, comments sections for each article, and an improved layout and design.
Transparency for the Membership
Fee Change Forum
AUSU has a fee change forum online here. Members are welcome to ask questions or provide feedback on the fee changes in the forums.
AUSU council will host a membership consultation by teleconference on Monday, March 26 at 5:00pm MDT. Members are welcome to join and ask questions or provide feedback on the proposed fee change. The teleconference instructions are available online here.
Public Readings of the Proposed Fee Increase
In accordance with the bylaws, AUSU will present the proposed fee increase in “public readings” at two different council meetings. Meetings are by teleconference, and all members are welcome. The meeting agenda and teleconference instructions will be posted online here at least 3 business days prior to the meetings. There is a Q&A period at the end of all council meetings to allow feedback and questions from the membership.
1st Reading: Tuesday, April 10 at 5:30pm MT.
Proposed 2nd Reading: May Council Meeting (date to be confirmed).
If you are unable to participate in any of the above opportunities, or you would prefer to speak to AUSU directly, please email [email protected] or call us at 1-855-497-7003.