Campuses in Ontario may see drastic changes after the recent announcement from the Ford government giving post-secondary students the option to forego paying some student fees.
While some fees will remain mandatory, such as any health and safety initiatives, the institutions themselves will have discretion over which services are essential to their campus.
The Student Choice Initiative, released on Jan. 17, is part of plan to lower the tuition burden and will allow individuals to choose which fees they will pay and how that money is allocated. This decision has left the University of Toronto Students’ Union executive concerned with how this will impact their operations.
“The risk of significant funding reductions, direct or indirect, would be grave and irrevocably change campus life,” the UTSU said in a statement released that same day.
USSU President Rollin Baldhead says that students in Ontario have to make the decision as to whether reduced student fees are worth sacrificing the programming that is funded by student fees.
“The 10 per cent cut in tuition sounds excellent, but with the terms provided, one has to wonder to what effect those cuts would have [on] the quality of education and services to which those students would have access,” Baldhead said.
Beyond student unions, the Canadian University Press has released a statement expressing concerns with institutions determining which fees are optional as student newspapers may lose revenue for their operations.
“We believe strongly that student publications are essential to the well-being of post-secondary students. Our members offer scrutiny to university and college administrations, ensuring that there is transparency in university governance. They are uniquely positioned to do so and provide this important coverage without the same resources as the mainstream media.”
Nykole King / Editor-In-Chief
Graphic: Jaymie Stachyruk / Graphics Editor