Tuition Waiver for Spouses/Partners

Categories: Bargaining, Bargaining Updates 2016, Tuition Fee Waivers

The Association’s Proposal #8 seeks to transfer a member’s tuition waiver to their spouse or partner, if desired. The tuition waiver permits members to take up to 12 credits per year. Specifically our proposal would allow a member to transfer the tuition waiver to his or her spouse. The Association does not believe that this waiver transfer would add a significant cost to the University, while making it easier to recruit and maintain faculty members. Our members have repeatedly told us that a spousal tuition waiver would help address both recruiting and retention issues. 

During the 2016 arbitration, the University presented an estimated cost of this transfer based on its experience with the Association of Administrative and Professional Staff (AAPS) employee group at UBC, who already has this benefit. The University estimated that the average cost per AAPS member was $11.01. By assuming the per member cost would be the same for UBCFA as it is for AAPS, an estimate of around $34,000 per year would provide our members with a benefit that it currently provides to AAPS members.

The Association disputes the logic of this analysis (there were also some minor arithmetic mistakes in the University’s arbitration brief). Because fee-paying students cannot be displaced by the use of this waiver, we argue that the actual cost to the University would be zero. The waiver could only be used if there were unfilled seats in a course. The burden of this proposal, to the extent that there is one, is on faculty members, not the University. It is faculty members who would face extra marking and interaction time from having extra students in their courses.

UBC’s position on this matter is different from comparator institutions: The University of Toronto, Queen’s, McMaster and McGill all provide tuition waivers for spouses.


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