University overcharges applied arts students

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By Natalie Alcoba 

Tuition hasn’t broken the $5,000 mark yet—except for a handful of applied arts students whose bills skyrocketed because of administration errors.

Some radio and television arts students were mailed incorrect fee statements this year, with some owing as high as $6,100, well above the $4,600 most students have to pay.

While a few students complained, others paid their fees, not realizing the increase was actually a mistake.

Ryerson’s administration doesn’t know how many students were overcharged, but said the glitches have been fixed and students’ money will be refunded.

They will not, however, be sending letters to students telling them about the mistake.

David Sigal, who managed Ryerson’s cashier’s office, said the mistake was discovered after the tuition statements were mailed and it was too late to send out new ones.

Instead, officials in the cashier’s office said they will do a credit balance review for all students and then mail refund cheques, even to the students who don’t claim their overpayments.

“The departments were made aware of the error, and I know that a lot of information was passed through word of mouth,” Sigal said. “When students come to the cashier’s office, they will be made aware of the problem.”

After students complained, the journalism department discovered an error was made when class hours were entered into the computer. Not enough hours were entered for each student, making it seems as if a full timetable was overloaded. When the tuition they owed was calculated based on their hours of class, it appeared as though they were taking additional courses and were consequently charged extra fees.

A handful of radio and television arts students were the victims of false billing as well, but not because of computer glitches. A mistake was made on course-selection forms, but it wasn’t the students’ faults, Sigal said.

Second-year journalism student Carmine Bonano, 20, received a tuition bill for $5,300. He paid it at his bank without questioning the amount.

“No one from Ryerson has officially informed me that I overpaid, or told me what to do about it,” Bonano said.

Journalism chair Vince Carlin said the school should have a system to handle these kinds of problems.

“I think it would have been useful to contact these students before they went into cardiac arrest thinking that they had to find another job to pay for the fees,” he said.

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