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ZYTARUK: Mandatory fees make it hard on post-secondary students

Students are forced to pay a scandalous heap of fees on top of their tuition

So let it be written…

Talk about earning a degree in getting ripped off.

Local post-secondary students are being forced to pay a scandalous heap of mandatory fees on top of their tuition in pursuit of their undergraduate degrees. All the universities are in on it.

Check this out. If you are enrolled in Kwantlen Polytechnic University, this is what you might well find yourself paying each semester, on top of your tuition – the rising costs of which, especially during a pandemic, is a subject for a future column.

Deep breath now. Here goes: Student Assn Bursary Fund ($1.08), Canadian Federation of Students ($4.75), Student Assn Advocacy Service ($4.05), Student Assn Club & Event Fee ($10.35), Student Assn Reboot Comp Srvc ($5.40), Student Assn Peer Counselling ($4.05), Student Assn Intramurals Fee ($5.10), Student Assn Operating Fund ($52.02), Student Assn Social Justice ($3.15), Student Assn START Volntr Prgm ($6.45), Student Assn SUB Capital Fee ($47.10), Student Assn Lobby Fund ($5.85), Libr, Tech&Student Life Fee-Dom ($154.80), and Student Assn Stu Public’n Fund ($11.25). There is also a $45.66 Moneris Solutions “convenience” fee for students who pay their tuition with a credit card. That’s one heck of a lot of money for a single transaction.

Considering that’s per semester, and there are eight semesters in your typical undergraduate degree, this all amounts to a whole lot of ridiculous.

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That some of these fees are still being charged as students are restricted to online studies during this pandemic is sinister.

It is not my intention to pick on KPU. Simon Fraser University and UBC also present their undergraduate students with a pirate’s buffet of extra mandatory fees as well.

SFU makes you click on each one, on its website (insert eye rolling here). There are supplementary fees, special fees, click click click. Jeepers, it’s like opening a scary door.

As far as I call tell, this is what a freshman undergraduate student at SFU paid this semester in extra fees, on top of tuition: U-Pass BC Fee Assessment ($170), UG Student Activity Fee ($139.64), UG Student Services Fee ($48.05), Application Fee-Undergraduate ($79.50).

And UBC? Again, another deep breath.

These are per year: Athletics and Recreation Fee ($230.82), AMS Membership Fee ($43.15), AMS Financial Assistance Fund ($12), AMS Athletics and Intramurals ($21), Childcare Bursary Fund ($1.17), International Projects Fund ($0.30), Ombudsperson ($1.13), Sexual Assault Support Services Fund ($9.50), Student Clubs Benefit ($1.77), Sustainable Food Access Fund ($0.39), Student Legal Fund ($1), Student Refugee Fund ($5.73), Capital Projects Fund ($8.36), SUB Renewal Fee ($100), Lighter Footprint Fund ($2.64), U-Pass ($170 per term), Indigenous Student Fund ($0.97 ), Permanent thrift shop on campus fee ($0.97) and Graduating Class Fee ($3.00, in final year only).

At BCIT, trade students get hit with a Building Fee ($16.10), SA Capital Levy-Trades fee ($20.93), Day-Learning Resource Fee ($97.48), Dayschool BCIT ID Card Fee ($2.50), Trades SA Fee ($157.32), Student Service Fees ($31.51), FT SA Student Centre Bldg Fee ($65.78), and U-Pass ($287).

The only reason I haven’t mentioned other schools is because I’ve run out of space.

Welcome to U. of Fees. Good grief, how about some relief?

So let it be done.

Tom Zytaruk is a staff writer with the Now-Leader. Email him at tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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