September 24, 2020

By CASSIE TULECKI

College students in Ontario will now have two extra months to pay their full tuition, but this comes with a catch. There has been a change in the fee schedule, resulting in all new and returning students having to pay a mandatory, non-refundable $500 tuition deposit by June 15 to hold a spot in the program they plan to attend in September.

The new tuition deadlines are August or September (depending on whether you get OSAP or not). This appears to be good for students, but not for those returning this fall, because they have to come up with $500 by mid-June, and were only given three months’ notice.

“I work a full-time job, live on my own and have to pay all my bills” said Ashlyn Thompson, a first-year community and justice services student. “I always need OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program) to get through my schooling. It’ll be really hard for me to come up with $500.”

Students are already stressed about the cost of tuition when entering college, especially when they have to pay the fees themselves. Add to that books, housing, parking or bus passes, food and other bills.

Pushing back the tuition fee due dates is great, allowing students to earn money in the spring and early summer to help pay for it, but some students are not going to be able to come up with the new deposit.

This will be particularly difficult for students who are supporting themselves and others. Single mothers who are full-time students will be particularly hard hit.

“I came to school so I could better my life for myself and my daughter,” said a student who did not want to give her name. “Money is tight. I don’t have $500 laying around. I have bills to pay, so I might not even be able to come back to school for a while.”

The $500 deposit does make it easier for colleges to plan for classes in September, but the fee is too steep, and could result in fewer students attending college in the fall.

“That’s way too expensive,” said Tyler Walkinshaw, a second-year woodworking technician student. “This is ridiculous, they should be paying us to go to school instead.”

We urge colleges to delay the new fee until next year, thus giving students more than three months’ notice.

The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.

One response to “New $500 fee upsets students

  1. I am a 26 year old who paid this fee to Humber College in mid-November. Yesterday, I received an email informing me my program had been cancelled. My $120 application fee to Ontario colleges was mentioned for refund, but my “Non-refundable” $500, paid to reserve my seat, was not. I am currently awaiting a response regarding this. Considering I am on ODSP, I had to scramble to come up with those fees. If they intend to keep my $500, I will fight them for it to my grave. However; even if they refunded it today, it is still ridiculous that this charge exists at all. Why is it I should pay as much to hold my place in an online program as a student attending a physical campus would? And even then, the fee is too steep! It’s outrageous that more importance has been placed on accommodating the greed of post-secondary institutions, than making education attainable for young Canadians.

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