The NAIT Students’ Association’s Advocacy department manages external relations on behalf of the students’ association. This includes research, government relations, lobbying, as well as addressing and dealing with issues involving NAIT. NAITSA provides a strong voice for students on a wide range of topics including tuition costs, student fees, facilities, academics, government funding, transit and programs for trades. The Advocacy Director, Jason Roth, assists NAITSA’s elected student executives with all research, political issues and external relations.
Tuition and Government Funding
Post-secondary institutions in Alberta are all dealing with a lack of government funding. The new government has reversed the previous government’s cuts and frozen tuition. Several issues remain outstanding such as mandatory non-instructional fees and the future of the tuition model. To deal with funding restrictions, NAITSA and other students’ associations are fighting to have non-academic fees regulated and to keep tuition affordable for students. NAITSA also works with other students’ associations to promote the importance of post-secondary education.
NAITSA also has a duty to represent students on issues of NAIT policy. Major changes in policy at NAIT that affect students must be made in consultation with student representatives. NAITSA, being the legally mandated form of student representation on campus, must continue to press NAIT to include the views of student representatives on issues of NAIT policy and governance. NAIT has also signed a memorandum of understanding with NAITSA that commits to open dialogue on issues that affect students.
The future direction of the institution matters to NAIT students, and therefore the NAIT Students’ Association. We want to ensure that the diplomas, certificates and degrees offered by NAIT remain valuable in the long-term. While we do not object to expansion in programming, we believe that it should not be at the expense of the quality of education offered in long-standing programs.
Over the long-term, it is obvious that NAIT needs to expand. To this end, NAITSA lobbied for the closure of the City Centre Airport in order to facilitate a consolidated campus in the future. A consolidated campus eliminates the need for the duplication of services that multiple campuses require. It is important to ensure that future students have access to services, transit and housing.
Transit service levels to NAIT continue to be a concern, especially at the Souch and Patricia campuses. NAITSA will continue to press the City of Edmonton for greater transit funding and better service to NAIT campuses.
NAITSA sits on the U-Pass Advisory Committee and takes students’ transit related issues directly to the transit providers. The new U-Pass contract for 2017-2021 sees the addition on Fort Saskatchewan, Spruce Grove and Leduc to the program, joining Strathcona County, St. Albert and Edmonton. This contract has no price increase in the first two years and a small $5 increase in each of the 3rd and 4th years.
Apprentices make up the largest student group at NAIT, and they have unique issues and concerns. NAITSA continues to seek improvements to programs that affect apprenticeship students, such as Employment Insurance and Incentive Grants. Greater student representation at the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board is also sought by NAITSA.
One of the most important issues facing students at NAIT is access to affordable housing. Currently there are no student residences at NAIT, and housing for apprenticeship students from outside of Edmonton is difficult to obtain. NAIT has included a residence in their campus development plan, and NAITSA is working with NAIT on that project.
The Advocacy Director, Jason Roth, assists NAITSA’s elected student executives with all research, political issues and external relations.