By Allan Woods
Ryerson administrators are thinking about getting legal advice after a survey ranked the university as the most expensive in the country to attend.
The survey, released last month by University Scholarships of Canada, a non-profit organization specializing in registered education savings plans, said a Ryerson student spends $12,929 a year on tuition, books and living expenses.
That’s nearly $700 more per year than neighbouring University of Toronto and close to $2,000 more expensive than York University.
But Ryerson says the survey is wrong.
“The fact that there is information about Ryerson that is not accurate does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling,” said Ryerson’s registrar Keith Alnwick, who suggested to the university’s board of governors Monday night that they seek legal advice.
Those carrying out the survey collected information from 42 Canadian universities related to tuition, books and living expenses. The numbers were used to calculate an average total cost.
Schools were asked to submit standard tuition and student fees for arts and science programs, as well as the lowest and highest room and board fees for a single room in its university residence.
Ryerson’s totals were inflated, Alnwick said, because in an effort to be transparent, his office gave USC the price of more expensive engineering programs along with the standard fees the surveyors had asked for.
The more expensive figures were included in the USC’s total.
Alnwick said because of the error, he asked USC to recalculate Ryerson’s unenviable standing and change the totals posted on its Web site (www.resp-usc.com).
USC’s marketing manager Lara Hunter said Ryerson misunderstood the request for information on expenses, and although her organization will mention the discrepancy in all future talks with the media, it won’t change the Web site.
“If we change the numbers from Ryerson we have to re-average everything,” said Hunter, adding the process would take too long.
“Because [Ryerson] provided that information, we included it,” Hunter said.
She did, however, say because of the error, her organization will check its totals with each university before publishing next year’s results.
The ranges in tuition costs weren’t the only reason the results were skewed.
Hunter said when the university submitted the highest and lowest fees for room and board, they quoted prices for shared accommodation rather than the price of a single room in residence, as USC had requested.
As a result, USC took the prices they needed from Ryerson’s Web site.
Liza Nassim, Ryerson’s manager of student housing services, said that was problematic because the Web site lists a phone fees and a refundable key deposit that other universities wouldn’t have included in their submissions.