By RYAN HORNE
Conestoga Students Inc. receives more than $1 million a year, thanks to fees paid by students.
Every full-time Conestoga student has to pay fees to CSI as part of their tuition every semester. According to CSI president Ciara Byrne, students pay approximately $130 each to CSI every semester.
One of the largest fees collected from students by CSI is the association fee. Most of the money is used for services, representation and activities.
However, CSI keeps some of the money for office supplies, equipment, uniforms, training and salaries for CSI members.
By the end of the year CSI will spend approximately $401,900 on services and activities specifically geared for students. Doon campus students pay $77.50 per semester, Waterloo students $25 per semester and Guelph and
Stratford students $9 per semester. The fee varies from campus to campus because the services and activities provided vary greatly. Last year’s association fee was $57.50 per semester for Doon students and $11.50 per semester for Waterloo students.
Some of the services provided by CSI include the Sanctuary bar, open access labs, laptops in the library, free printing, cafeteria microwaves, agendas and student scholarships which are worth $3,000 each. Activities include frosh week events such as the Down with Webster concert, pub nights, nooners, prizes and contests. Byrne said CSI also funded the first floor furnishings in the new F-wing at Doon campus and the lounge area in the Cambridge campus with association fees.
Students also have to pay a College Student Alliance (CSA) fee. CSA is a provincial lobbying group that represents all college students in Ontario. CSA says on its website that students benefit from this alliance because they have brought about Ontario Student Assistance Program increases, tuition caps and funding for college infrastructure which included the new Cambridge campus. The CSA fee is $4.50 per semester for all Conestoga students.
Another fee which students pay, a capital development fee, does not actually go to CSI, but to the college. In a CSI referendum in 2005, students voted to pay this fee to help build a new Student Centre, which was completed in 2009. Departments in the complex include the Learning Commons, Aboriginal Services and Health Services among others. CSI also uses a portion of this money to run their offices. The capital development fee costs $52.77 per semester for all Conestoga students.
Finally, students pay $270 as part of the CSI Health and Benefits plan, but are free to opt out if they already have sufficient coverage.