Tuition waivers for uni president’s children


Reading this article in the Prince George Citizen outlining the contract of the UNBC president and some of the reasons for the departure of the previous UNBC president, I was struck by this sentence: “The Citizen has also learned UNBC agreed to continue waiving tuition fees for Cozzetto’s son for the purpose of completing the final three years of his undergraduate degree, if he wishes to remain.”

This is another university presidential perk that I am not comfortable with. Sure the cost is relatively minor compared to other perks in these contracts, but the symbolism is important to me.

The university president has a great deal of influence over tuition costs for students. (Officially Boards of Governors set fees, but most boards amount to little more than rubber-stamp social clubs in these matters.)  For the president to be immune to paying the tuition sends a bad message – why does he get a free ride when others don’t and why shouldn’t his family have to budget for increasing tuition like some many others?

As I said, it’s only symbolic. With university presidents continuing to see ridiculous pay increases way out of line with inflation, they will never actually have to be concerned with the cost of tuition –  no matter if they have to pay it or not.

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Tuition waivers for uni president’s children

  1. This reminds me of the 2-year tuition increase vote at the University of Ottawa in 2006, one week before Christmas. One of the Board of Governors talked about how he sympathized with the 70+ students attending the meeting, as his children (and maybe spouse, I don’t remember) were attending university.

    Then we read the Board of Governors handbook (published on the web) and realized the governors, who vote the tuition fee increase, all get tuition fee exemption for their spouse and/or children.

  2. Is that not a perk that he would have received anyway as a tenured faculty member? I was under the impression that faculty and staff earn tuition credits, that can be applied against the tuition of their kids, at most schools. While I disagree with the practice generally, it doesn’t strike me as particularly unique for a president to get it. Even if you leave, they’re still your credits as you were taxed for them as a benefit.

  3. Philippe:

    1) As I’m sure you know, the Board members themselves do NOT get free tuition – this allows the University to keep charging the student members of the Board.

    2) Tuition provided to spouses and children are a taxable benefit…and at the income earned by most of the BoG members, that’s not trivial, I would think. Kind of like 60% off, rather than totally free. Your point is still valid of course.

    Spencer: The free tuition deal also extends to the non-Faculty members of the Board of Governors.

    S. – U of O Board member in a past life.

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