September 30, 2020

By STEPHANIE LEFEBVRE Every year, students at Conestoga College pay their tuition. But every year they also have to pay student fees, which are built into that cost.
So where does every students’ contribution go?
Conestoga Students Inc. uses some of that money to contribute to the college in various ways. They hold $2 breakfasts, they make frosh week happen and fund the Tuesday pub nights.
However, at the CSI monthly meeting on Sept. 26, members of the board of directors were told they had a $1.8-million surplus.
During the 2011/2012 CSI audit review, Tim Sutherland, an auditor from BDO Canada, said the increase was a result of the approximately 800 unexpected students registering this year.
Sutherland said CSI should be careful with their numbers so as not to pique the interest of the Canada Revenue Agency. CSI running a surplus for too long could cause them to lose their not-for-profit status.
However, Sutherland also said CSI should have about a year’s worth of expenditures in reserve before they even consider changing their budget too drastically.
Janie Renwick, general manager of CSI, said they couldn’t have known about the increase in students.
“It’s hard for us each year to pick a number,” she said about the amount of students. “The college won’t give us a definite number.”
Renwick said they would do a budget review in November, basing their budget off of the new number of students.
However, the members of the board had many ideas on how to manage the surplus.
One idea was to keep the pub open more often, but the cost of security and the liquor licence was a factor.
The one idea that caught everyone’s attention was to lower the cost of student fees, but Sutherland said that’s a hard game to play. Not only would they upset graduates, but should something change in the near future, having to increase student fees would only cause chaos.
Instead, Sutherland suggested putting the money into larger projects around the college in smaller payments over the course of a few years in order to decrease the surplus, give back to the college and still maintain a positive balance.
Ciara Byrne, president of CSI, agreed and said a bulk of the money will most likely go to the recreation centre.