Student Choice Initiative leaves clubs concerned over funding

by | Oct 1, 2019 | Headlines, IGNITE, News

Kristen Cussen, News Reporter

The $55.95 worth of optional fees might be pocket change compared to the thousands of dollars students already pay in tuition, program materials and living expenses.

But in the face of OSAP cuts and delays, students are eager to save money where they can this year.

A new school year means new classes, new professors and now, new optional fees implemented by Premier Doug Ford’s government, calling it the Student Choice Initiative. Students can now opt-out of ancillary fees deemed non-mandatory by the provincial government.

“I just don’t have money to put towards their services right now,” said Sarah Keane, a first-year nursing student.

For Matt Galang, a second-year sports management student, opting out was “just to save money. [IGNITE] doesn’t do a lot for me day-to-day anyway.”

For the first time, students can view a breakdown of the optional student activity fees.

Matt Galang, a second-year sports management student, is among the 20 per cent of students who opted out. (Kristen Cussen)

The fees are divided into six categories, including alumni, student governance, social programming, future skills development, student leadership and development, and financial support.

Now, students can opt-in or out of some fee as they see fit, instead of paying the total amount. Humber estimates 80 per cent of students opted in.

The Embassy campus church is one of Humber’s oldest clubs and its facing new changes in funding.

“We’ve been asked to cut back on snacks and beverages, but nothing else will change. We don’t need much,” said Sophie Martin, a fourth-year Family and Community Social Services student and an executive member of the campus church.

IGNITE has not disclosed its final budget, but the 11-year-old club is sure to continue regardless of the outcome. Members brought home-made treats for Monday worship and attendees are not required to opt-in unless they’re part of the executive team.

Outside of clubs, some students aren’t sure what IGNITE is about.

“Being in my first year, I didn’t know [certain] fees were optional. I’m not in a club or anything, so I would have opted-out if I had known,” Keane said.

“I haven’t used any services, and I don’t know what they offer,” she said. “I’m already paying a $100 late fee for tuition because my OSAP money hasn’t come in yet and even $55 could make all the difference.”