This morning’s University of Alberta Gateway is covering a topic that has been at the top of our priority list since February – regulating non-instructional fees and ensuring that Students’ Unions can send those fees to referendum rather than having them arbitrarily approved by a university’s Board of Governors. The best news is that the Gateway is reporting that:

“At first glance, it appears that the student proposal is definitely on the right track. We anticipate the minister will be providing some additional written feedback in the near future,” Donnan said. “He is very enthused by what the students have brought forward.”

Now that is great news – and the result of months of work by CAUS and its partners. Right now non-instructional fees are permitted to go up by an virtually unlimited amount – provided that the institution is able to provide a justification for labelling them as non-instructional. The joint proposal from CAUS alongside the Alberta Graduate Council and the Alberta Students’ Executive Council calls for those fees to be subject to either a vote by the institution’s students’ council or by referendum of the students affected. You can read more about the issue and look at CAUS’ proposals here.

Right now Alberta has the highest non-instructional fees in the country, with an average undergraduate paying $818 a year over and above their tuition.

The next steps are with the Government, as Alberta Advanced Education and Technology study the proposal and look at creating a new regulation of the Post-Secondary Learning Act, likely sometime at the beginning of 2011. CAUS is hopeful that it will be in effect in time for the new academic year.