With Premier Doug Ford’s recent changes to funding for post-secondary institutions, there has been a lot of uncertainty surrounding the universal transit pass that was supposed to come into effect in the 2019 school term at Conestoga College.
Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Merrilee Fullerton recently announced the “student choice initiative,” which will give post-secondary students the option to opt out of student fees that were originally mandatory. With those fees ranging as high as $2,000, students were forced to pay dearly for services that they might not use.
This may sound like a great idea for some students, but it poses potential problems for projects that were in the work, such as the U-Pass. The U-Pass was going to be a mandatory fee for all full-time students, levied on top of tuition, as with other student fees. With students now being able to opt out of certain fees, there is a lot of confusion about whether the U-Pass will be deemed essential or not. And the uncertainty has slowed the planning process for the U-Pass.
Clouding the picture even further were the contents of a fundraising email Ford sent to party supporters last week, which referred to the “crazy Marxist nonsense” that student unions supposedly espouse.
Listen as Conestoga Students Inc. president Aimee Calma and Conestoga College president John Tibbits express their concerns about the future of the U-Pass.