NOT IN YOUR BEST INTEREST

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By Patrick Szpak

A policy lets the university charge students interest on unpaid tuition for winter course selections— before the student is even enrolled— a difference of $175.

Ryerson students who cannot front an entire year’s tuition in September can expect to pay more than a hundred dollars in interest thanks to Ryerson University’s current system.

Ryerson University levies both fall and winter course tuition in September. Students who do not pay 100 per cent of their tuition by the Sept. 8 deadline are charged 1.5 per cent per month, or 19.6 per cent per year, on what remains.

Sanjid Anik, a fourth-year information and technology management student, is angry at Ryerson’s policy and wants to see it changed.

“It’s disgusting. I don’t know why Ryerson is doing this.”

Anik said he expects to pay $175 interest this semester on his unpaid tuition.

“That’s phone, food and Internet for a month,” he added.

Anik said he cannot pay all of the year’s tuition at once because OSAP loans are given to students in two payments of 60 per cent in the fall, and 40 per cent in the winter and that Ryerson’s policy unfairly punishes those who need student loans to live.

He also wants to know how much money Ryerson brings in from interest on unpaid tuition.

“We have never seen how much revenue is generated by these fees.”

Nora Loreto, vice-president of education at the Ryerson Students’ Union, said the RSU tried to change the university’s policy last year, but the university refused.

She says she has received many complaints on the issue and wants to see it changed.

“I think this is horribly regressive. We have a duty to ensure that students on OSAP aren’t getting punished for being on OSAP,” she said.

Loreto added she wants to see the university introduce a system that works with OSAP’s schedule of paying out to students. “If the province recognizes they don’t have the money, I think Ryerson should do the same thing.”

Peter Gee, an assistant director of financial services at Ryerson said that Ryerson is “taking a different route” from other universities. He stressed that Ryerson’s 19.6 per cent per year was similar to other universities, although they assess it in different ways.

He said other universities often charge one-time service fees for students who defer their payments based on an OSAP schedule.

“I’m sure if you went to outside universities they would be similar to ours.” G

ee said Ryerson’s demand that tuition be paid in September is how things have been historically done. He also said from his perspective, changing the system could result in some cash-flow problems for the university.

Gee said it would be “impossible” to find out how much of the $127 million of student generated revenue came from interest on unpaid tuition.

When asked if he thought the system is fair, he answered: “I hesitate to answer that, it seems kind of off the cuff.”

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