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Tuesday, March 20, 2001

  • Tuition fee increases: 2% or 7%
  • Pension premiums start to go back up
  • UW sixth in Putnam math contest
  • Green things, spring things

Tuition fee increases: 2% or 7%

Most tuition fees at UW will go up 2 per cent this year, according to proposals that are on the agenda for the board of governors executive committee today. The recommended fee increases need final approval from the board of governors itself, when it meets on April 3.

Board of governors executive committee meets at 2:30 today in Needles Hall room 3004.

Current fee levels

Fees would go up by 7 per cent in the "deregulated" programs at UW -- engineering, optometry and computer science. The increase would also be 7 per cent in the "professionally accredited stream" of the Master of Accountancy program, and 7.8 per cent in the accountancy diploma program.

No change to the co-op fee, currently $400 a term, is being proposed.

The new fees would be effective starting in the spring term, which begins May 1. (Fee payments will be due April 24, the finance office says.) With the increases, here's how one-term tuition fees will look for full-time undergraduate programs:

Regular programs $2,015
First-year architecture $2,188
Regular computer science $2,421
Co-op AHS, arts, ES, math, science $2,429
Upper-year architecture $2,588
Co-op computer science $2,835
Engineering $3,043
Optometry $3,203
The unit course fee will be $453 in most fields, $544 in CS and engineering, $550 for accounting diploma courses, $560 in optometry. International students in regular programs will pay $6,333 a term.

At the graduate level, most students will pay $1,648 per term (international students $4,162). There are other fee calculations for students in the Master of Accounting program, part-time students, and grad students who started in their program in 1996-97 or earlier.

UW is currently listing four "cost recovery" graduate programs, with price tags of $2,250 or $2,500 per course, or $8,250 per term for the Master of Taxation program.

In addition to tuition and co-op fees, there are "incidental" fees that range from $246.90 (AHS) to $380.59 (co-op biotechnology and chartered accountancy) for full-time undergraduates. Those fees include health insurance, student services, the Federation of Students and other student organizations, and in some cases voluntary contributions to endowment funds. For full-time graduate students, the incidental fees range from $147.66 to $222.66 per term.

"The Board of Governors has the power (as given in the University of Waterloo Act)," says a note in today's agenda, "to set tuition fees at any level it wishes. In practical terms that power is constrained by the provincial government, which will deduct from its grants any tuition charges in excess of the amount stipulated by the government. . . . Beginning with 1998-99, universities which are approved participants in the Access to Opportunities Program are no longer subject to tuition regulations for Engineering and Computer Science programs. . . . Beginning with 1998-99, the government deregulated tuition for all graduate programs and undergraduate professional programs (Optometry at UW)."

[From 6,500 to 11,000 to 8,000]

Pension premiums start to go back up

Staff and faculty members can expect to be paying more into the UW pension fund each payday, starting May 1.

The board of governors is being asked to approve a boost in the pension premiums paid each month by individual staff and faculty members, and also by the university itself. The increase has been expected for some time.

Since the spring of 1997, the premiums have been at a reduced level, currently 25 per cent of full price. The pension fund has remained healthy in spite of this reduction in how much goes into it. The pension and benefits committee reported last fall that the fund had a surplus somewhere between $40 million and $90 million. As of January 1, it's now saying, a "conservative estimate" of the surplus is $26 million, in a total pension fund of $678 million.

The plan, approved last year, has been for premiums to go back from 25 per cent to 100 per cent in stages, starting with an increase to 40 per cent as of May 1, 2001. They would then be 60 per cent of the normal level in 2002-03, 80 per cent in 2003-04, and 100 per cent in 2004-05. By that time, employees and the university would be paying as much into the pension plan as they were in 1996 -- or four times as much as they're paying right now.

The P&B committee is reporting today to the executive committee of the board of governors, confirming the recommendation for a 40 per cent level starting on May 1.

"Also," its report says, "in light of recent market conditions, the Committee intends to conduct a review of the state of the Fund in December 2001 with a view to determining whether the current plan needs to be more aggressive (i.e., 60%, effective January 2002)." The recent weakness in stock market prices is illustrated in the two-year graph above, showing the Toronto Stock Exchange index.

Approval of the increase to 40 per cent is expected at the board's spring meeting on April 3.

UW sixth in Putnam math contest

UW's team has placed sixth in the world in this year's William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition, its coach announced on Monday morning. This year's Putnam competition was written on December 2 by 2,818 students at 434 different colleges and universities in Canada and the United States.

Says coach Christopher Small, of UW's statistics and actuarial science department: "The competition was held simultaneously at the different institutions in two grueling three hour sessions -- one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Over the six hours of the competition, the students worked to solve a total of twelve mathematics problems which are designed to challenge the best minds in North America."

Waterloo's team consisted of Sabin Cautis, Richard Hoshino and Joel Kamnitzer. "Coming into this competition, expectations were very high," said Small, who coached the team together with Ian VanderBurgh. "In the previous Putnam competition in 1999, Waterloo achieved first place ahead of all other universities in Canada and the US. So this time, the students were under the additional pressure of trying to match the previous stellar performance. Sixth place in this competition is an outstanding achievement, and I congratulate the students on their excellent results."

This year's Putnam was won by Duke University. Ranked 2nd to 5th were Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, California Institute of Technology and the University of Toronto. "It is a credit to Canadian mathematics that two of the top ten universities are Canadian," said Small. "There has been a lot of hard work by many dedicated teachers and professors to foster the very best in our students. The results of this work can be seen in part in the continuing strength of Canadian students in competitions such as the Putnam."

The team members and other students at Waterloo also write the Putnam competition as individuals, and achieve individual scores and awards. Individually, Richard Hoshino and David Nicholson of UW received Honorable Mentions and were ranked 34th and 57th respectively out of the 2,818 students who wrote. Also ranking in the top 100 were Sabin Cautis and Keon Choi. Among the 39 students who wrote at Waterloo, there were 12 ranked in the top 200, and an additional 6 ranked in the top 500.

The following is Problem A2 from the morning session of the competition: "Prove that there exist infinitely many integers n such that n, n+1, and n+2 are each the sum of two squares of integers. For example, 0 is 0 squared plus 0 squared, 1 is 0 squared plus 1 squared, and 2 is 1 squared plus 1 squared."

Green things, spring things

It's just about a perfect day to talk about "greening the campus". Fittingly, nine groups of students from Environment and Resource Studies 250 will do exactly that today, presenting the results of studies they've been doing about waste management at UW. "Greening the Campus began in the United States in the early 1980s through the innovative work of David Orr," explains Tanya McGregor, teaching assistant for the course. "The idea was that university campuses should model the world that students seek to create. Waterloo was the first university in Canada to adopt the program." An ERS course based on that philosophy has been running for a decade now, and has produced dozens of studies. Topics being presented today (from 12:30 to 3:00 in Arts Lecture Hall room 113) include vermicomposting, sanding and salting, garbage, lug-a-mugs, and a preliminary feasibility study for an "eco-village" on the north campus.

"Class enrolment", a.k.a. preregistration, continues today and all week, as undergraduates choose the courses they'll take next fall, and try to fit their timetables together.

Today brings the first of two open meetings for comments on the launch of the new UWinfo home page last week and discussion of users' needs as the UWinfo project continues. Today's meeting starts at 2:30 in Davis Centre room 1302, and a second meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 11:30 in Needles Hall room 3001.

Church historian Philip Secor impersonates that great Anglican Richard Hooker at Renison College tonight (7:30) as the St. Bede Lecture series continues.

The film "This Is What Democracy Looks Like", about the tumult at the World Trade Organization conference in Seattle two years ago, will be shown at 7:00 tonight in Davis Centre room 1304.

Off campus tonight, and of special interest: a speaker from Smartrisk, sponsored by the Grand River Hospital. Adrian Dieleman, described as "an injury survivor", will "share his personal experience and talk about the choices we all face in risk taking", at 7:00 at the Waterloo Recreation Complex.

The bookstore sends word of a math, physics, and engineering sale, being held in the Davis Centre "fishbowl" lounge tomorrow and Thursday. The sale will feature titles from such publishers as Springer and Wiley. The books, which are already discounted, will receive an extra discount of 25 per cent off at this two-day event -- the resulting prices are up to 70 per cent off the publisher's suggested retail price, says marketing manager Jason MacIntyre.

Also tomorrow, central stores will hold its regular surplus sale from 11:30 to 1:30 at East Campus Hall, off Phillip Street.

At 12 noon tomorrow, Paula Dimeck of applied health sciences gives the first of two sessions in stress management and relaxation training, sponsored by the Employee Assistance Program. She'll speak in Engineering Lecture Hall room 211. This first session will focus on physical aspects of stress management; a follow-up on March 28 will deal with mental and emotional aspects, building on what's discussed tomorrow.

A session on "Eating for Energy: Working towards a healthy weight" will be held tomorrow from 4:30 to 6:30 at health services. Anyone interested can call ext. 3544 to sign up.


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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