It’s once again that time of the year when we all head to Acorn and get ready to pay tuition. However, this year things are slightly different. This year, due to the Student Choice Initiative implemented by the Ford government, students will be able to opt out from a number of fees that aren’t considered “essential”. I decided to give it a go and write about why I decided to opt in.
Understanding the Student Choice Initiative wasn’t an easy task. According to Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (TCU), compulsory fees are those which classify as the following: 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 (www.tcu.gov.on.ca). These to me sound like rather broad categories, but as I read more about them it turned out that they excluded many of the clubs I’m in, the activities and formals I’ve attended, the student-run press, and many other services I’ve found extremely useful during my time here. The optional fees are those which fund everything that has made the university community that I love so lively for so long.
Since my first year I have been involved in many extracurricular groups and activities, such as UC orientation, GirlUp, and even this blog. Had I not been given these opportunities, my experience here would have been extremely different. That’s why when I made my decision, I made sure I was informed and aware of what exactly was at stake.
In theory, this initiative should help me save some money when paying tuition, but like most things, it’s not as simple as that. But, as I looked through the optional fees, I couldn’t help but notice that each fee was rarely above $1. I opted out of all fees to see how much money I could save, and in total, it was less than $60 (excluding health and dental). My student experience has been, and continues to be, greatly enhanced by the many co-curricular activities I’ve participated in, which is why it didn’t take me long to decide I’d be opting in.