Last week, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities published an official guideline to the tuition fee and ancillary fee changes that will be implemented in the 2019-2020 academic year. The document expands on details about the Student Choice Initiative sent out to student societies by Vice-Provost, Students Sandy Welsh last month.
According to the document, an ancillary fee refers to “a fee imposed or administered […] in addition to regular tuition fees, which a student pays for a service or product.” The University of Toronto denotes such fees as ‘incidental.’
The guidelines for the SCI differentiate between “essential” and “non-essential” that are charged by the university to support clubs, student societies, and programs that fall outside of the provincial framework for compulsory fees. Students must be provided an opt-out option for all “non-essential” fees.
Service fees may be deemed “essential” by individual institutions as long as they fall within the ministry’s established framework, which includes athletics and recreation, career services, student buildings, health and counselling, academic support, student ID cards, student achievement and records, financial aid offices, and campus safety programs. At UTM, this also includes the student transit pass.
Institutions must inform students the breakdown of each individual fee, before listing the fees to ensure students know what they are paying for.
Mark Overton, dean of student affairs at UTM, stated that UTM is currently “reviewing all of the ancillary fees, including those of student societies and their affiliates, to see which ones could be considered essential under the Ancillary Fee Guidelines (section 6 of the MTCU document). I understand that the final guidelines were released on Friday so we’ll be working to interpret and apply them in the next few days.”
Tuition fee cuts
Tuition for domestic students will be reduced by ten per cent come the 2019-2020 academic year. This reduction will not apply to “most international students” or “full cost recovery” programs that receive funding through tuition.
For the 2020-2021 academic year, the ministry will also freeze the tuition for all academic programs at all post-secondary institutions in Ontario.
The tuition cut will not apply to students in deregulated programs, such as CCIT, DEM, or Commerce.