Tuition increase just the tip of the iceberg

As the fall semester fast approaches from the horizon for students, some will be getting a wake-up call when they go to pay their tuition.

You see, in addition to the $100 a year tuition increase (which works out to $50 a semester, $10 a course or $3 a credit), universities are continuing to pack on administrative fees — taxes on tuition to pay for things that used to be included free.

At my alma mater, Concordia University, some of the new fees include a “Copyright fee” and a “Technology Infrastructure Fee”, even though the latter, at $4 per credit or $60 a semester, doesn’t include access to things like the formerly-free campus-wide wireless network — now they make you pay for that, which is pissing off some students.

Concordia’s list of “miscellaneous fees” is always good for a laugh, and was the butt of jokes at the Concordia Student Union back when it was controlled by the radical left. There’s a fee to apply, a fee to confirm attendance, a fee for the required student ID card, a fee to graduate, and a fee to mail your degree, among many others.

But while students make fun of these fees and protest against them, the number of student association fees (which the students themselves approve) has gone up considerably in the past few years. In 2000, there were 10 of these fees. Now the number has doubled. The newest fee, to be added in the winter, will support the “Sustainability Action Fund”. This isn’t to be confused with the entirely separate fee to run Sustainable Concordia, or for groups like the CSU or the Quebec Public Interest Research Group. In all, these student-managed fees account for between $8 and $12 per credit, which works out to $240 to $360 per year. (And that doesn’t include the student-managed health and dental plan, which is another $200 per year)

While some of these fees are opt-outable (most notably the health plan), most aren’t.

So before student groups start complaining about how their constituents are being nickel-and-dimed to death, perhaps they should start looking in their own backyard.

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