Earlier today, Vice-Provost, Students Sandy Welsh sent an email to student society presidents regarding the implementation of the ‘Student Choice Initiative.’
The initiative, which will launch starting September 1, 2019, will allow university and college students in Ontario to opt-out of fees which are not deemed ‘essential.’
The fees deemed ‘essential’ by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities include athletics and recreation, career services, student buildings, health and counselling, academic support, financial aid offices, walk safe programs, student ID cards, transcripts, and convocation. Paying for all other fees on the Acorn invoice, including student unions and campus newspapers, will become optional.
“We are not aware of any leeway for the University to determine which fees are essential,” wrote Welsh in the email. “This is a binding policy directive.”
When the initiative begins, opting out of fees will be done online. If a student wishes to opt-in later, they will be able to do so.
“Student fees in Ontario can range as high as $2,000 per year and, too often, force students to pay for services they do not use and organizations they do not support,” Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities announced back in January. “We will ensure students have transparency and freedom of choice regarding the campus services and organizations which get access to their money.”The Medium has reached out to the UTMSU for comment. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.