From the Editor: It’s tuition time again; here’s who your money goes to
Columns / September 3, 2018
The birds are chirping, the province is on fire, and it’s time for a brand new semester at KPU.
This year our student body is bigger than ever, which means tuition dollars are rolling in. Yet very few of us truly know how our money is used or who exactly spends it.
The university accepts your tuition and collects all fees, but after that it follows an elaborate framework for funding student groups and organizations. Most of that funding goes to the three biggest on-campus groups: The Kwantlen Student Association (KSA), The Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group (KPIRG), and Polytechnic Ink Publishing Society (PIPS), which publishes The Runner and Pulp.
The Kwantlen Student Association is your student government. It receives the most funding after the university and has a council, an executive team, and a long list of committees that help determine how its money should be used to best benefit the student body. The executive team and the councillors are elected by KPU students, and they regularly meet and organize events, campaigns, and external initiatives on behalf of all who go to school here.
The KSA also offers a health and dental plan, which you might have noticed on your tuition bill. The extended health plan costs $85.00 per year and dental costs $110.00 per year. The multi-pass, for student-commuters, is $51.00 per month.
Technically, all fees paid to KPIRG and PIPS come through the KSA, which is responsible for remitting the money to the appropriate organization. It also sets aside funding for the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), most commonly recognized as the source of years of legal trouble and drama with the Kwantlen Student Association. The CFS receives $1.00 per credit from KPU students, up to a maximum of $ 8.98 per semester.
Although the association has tried to terminate its membership with the federation several times over the years, the KSA remains a paying member of the CFS. In fact, it is now one of two student unions in B.C. represented by the CFS, and KSA President Caitlin McCutchen is currently sitting on its executive team as a rep. for B.C. students. It’s a strange situation, as McCutchen herself admitted in an interview with The Runner at the end of June.
The Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group is an organization that advocates for social justice at KPU through local programming. Like the student association, it receives a per-credit fee ($0.80) from students—or it did, before the KSA voted to revoke its funding in April.
KPIRG was the subject of controversy this year after filing a notice of civil claim against its own founder for allegedly defrauding the research group of about $112,000. The accused, Richard Hossein, has not responded to the allegations other than giving The Runner a “no comment” in March.
The KSA decided to withhold the funding students pay to KPIRG “until things get sorted out with them,” as said by McCutchen. So, while you’ll still be paying fees to hypothetically fund a research group on campus, that money won’t be used by the Kwantlen Public Interest Research group for the foreseeable future.
Polytechnic Ink Publishing Society is the organization that you pay for the production of on-campus publications—The Runner, the newspaper you’re reading now, and Pulp, KPU’s literature and visual arts magazine. PIPS receives $0.75 per credit from students, and our budget also accounts for the potential creation of new student publications.
If this is your first time reading the newspaper, welcome! We hope you enjoy the issue.
Our job is to know what’s going on in the university community and report on it, but we also cover stories on the municipal, provincial, federal—and sometimes international—levels. We’re also hoping to focus on video publishing this year, so you might see our reporters around campus with cameras and microphones. Our office is located on the third floor of the KPU Surrey library, and if you’re paying a fee to PIPS, you’re a member of our society. Don’t be afraid to say hi or email me with any questions you might have.
Best of luck with fall 2018!