Students can soon opt-out of some fees that fund student groups and services
In addition to tuition, post-secondary students are currently required to pay fees for your school’s various services and facilities.
These are called ancillary fees but can also be described as the fees that fund student life initiatives, like school fitness centres.
At George Brown College (GBC), students pay approximately $323 in mandatory ancillary fees per semester.
What are the proposed changes to ancillary fees?
The provincial government recently announced that students will be able to opt out of some ancillary fees online when they register and pay tuition in September.
Fees that fund essential services like walk safe programs, health and counselling, athletics, recreation and academic support will be deemed essential and won’t be affected by the opt-out.
Each school will determine which ancillary fees will be mandatory and which will be optional.
GBC president, Anne Sado, said the college is consulting with the Student Association (SA) to determine next steps.
“From the ancillary fees announcement that they said some would be mandatory and some would be opt out,” said Sado.
“So I think we have to understand and work together to position the services to ensure that students have an opportunity to have an overall positive experience,” she added.
If fees become optional, each student will have the opportunity to choose whether or not they will contribute to them and the services they support.
“Making fees for student groups optional will hurt our ability to deliver quality services that benefit all students, threaten student employment and learning, and leave the most marginalized students who depend on our services at risk,” said Jasmyn St. Hilaire, the SA’s director of communications and internal.
What are the ancillary fees at George Brown College?
Mandatory ancillary fees per semester
Student Association fee: $110.1
Technology fee: $94.50
Athletic fee: $49.05
Student assistance fee: $30
Athletic building fee: $30.80
Canadian Federation of Students Fee: $8.37
ID fee: $12
Graduation/diploma fee: $56.34
Alumni fee: $28.91 payable in the first year.
Student Levy: $25. (Optional)
Health insurance fees (domestic students)
Fall semester extended health/dental fee: $227.18
Winter semester extended health/dental fees $155.49
Health insurance fees (international students)
Fall semester extended health/dental fees: $663.67
Winter semester extended health/dental fees: 450.90
Summer semester extended health/dental fees: $236.98
UPDATE: Mandatory transit passes are to be added to the list of fees students will not be able to opt out of according to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Merrilee Fullerton.
Early last year, TTC released its framework for a monthly transit pass which will afford post-secondary students a 40 per cent reduction in the cost for transit. The U-Pass could become a mandatory part of all full-time students’ fees.
The referendum to implement the U-Pass system was successful Ryerson University while at the University of Toronto, it was voted down. GBC has not yet taken the vote.
What do ancillary fees fund at George Brown College?
The Student Association fee funds a Safewalk program, an emergency student food bank, academic advocacy, peer-support for marginalized students, income tax clinics, legal aid, student clubs, and events are all services provided by the SA, made possible through funding from the ancillary fee. The Dialog is also funded by the SA fee.
The technology fee covers the cost of open computer labs at the college as well as WiFi connections through all the campuses. Major technology upgrades have been happened in recent years to improve WiFi speed as more smartphones and laptops are used on campus.
The athletic fee covers all athletics operations. This includes Varsity sports teams recreation programs in addition to the costs associated with maintaining the college’s gym and fitness centres, which are free for students to use.
The athletics building fee is what funded the renovation of the St. James and Casa Loma gyms and fitness centres in 2012 and 2015.
The Canadian Federation of Students fee helps fund provincial and national student advocacy organizations which lobby the government and other organizations on behalf of students.
The Student Assistance fee covers peer tutoring, and student success.
The Student Levy is split between funding student awards and bursaries (75 per cent) and capital projects at the college (25 per cent). This fee is one of the few that is currently an opt-out fee.