it used to be when you turned 60, you could go to university for free. a wonderful tradition and one that, i’m sure, didn’t cost the university very much at all. and then one day … well, read on. this is a letter to the editor by my friend ruth.
on january 1, 2008, i turned 60 years old.
i have worked since i was 17 years old, raised 2 biological children, 1 adopted child, several foster kids. i have owned and operated several small businesses and put 2 ex-husbands through university.
i was elated to learn that SFU had a seniors’ program whereby those who were 60 or older could attain degrees for free. i called the seniors’ advisor in february, paid my initiation fee and waited until now to register for two part time courses commencing this fall. all of this i was instructed to do.
today, i called the seniors’ advisor and was informed that the 36-year old tradition of offering such courses to seniors at no fee, had arbitrarily changed – without notice – in april 2008. again, there was no notice of this change, and to date, the university has not offered to return the initiation fee.
apparently, the president of the university and the board of directors made this decision, out of the blue, without even informing the faculty advisor or the chair of the seniors’ programme.
as it stands now, all seniors’ degreed programs are a fee for service unless one applies for low-income assistance, and even then, the assistance is minimal.
i would suggest to the president of SFU that this type of foolishness is tantamount to misrepresentation and theft, as fees have been accepted by the university under false pretenses.
why a person 60 years of age would pay for a degreed course, is beyond me. we’ve all had our careers. most of us would attend university for the purpose for which it was intended … vis a vis … to learn!
it is strongly suggested that SFU reverse its decision and at the very least, as a gesture of goodwill to a community which is growing – seniors – at least give one year’s notice of such a change so that seniors can make other educational arrangements. additionally, the return of funds accepted by SFU under false pretenses might be worth considering. unless that happens, i suggest SFU is guilty of theft and i for one am seriously considering picketing outside the harbour centre campus.
i’ve always had an inherent disdain for high academics. spending too much time in the airless halls of acadamia obviously leads to brain damage. it is incumbent upon the board of SFU to do the right thing. if they are going to end a 36 year tradition, have the decency to give notice.
i did just a tiny bit of background research and found in april, stephen rees already warned this might be a problem (but who listens to a blogger?). distastefully, the non-credit SFU seniors program says nothing about this change and just quietly mentions that “seniors pay the same tuition and student fees as all other students at the university”
this is an entry for my participation in the 2008 blogathon, a 24-hour marathon of blogging. please support the cause and donate – however much, however little – to the canadian mental health association (vancouver/burnaby branch). to donate, email me or use this URL: www.canadahelps.org/CharityProfilePage.aspx?CharityID=d2252. you should be able to get there by clicking the link; if not, just copy and paste the link into your browser. it will take you to the appropriate location at canada helps.
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