By Tia Kim
Ryerson students celebrated the first week of school with pyjama parties and hypnotists, but they were also confronted by lineups stretching as far as the eye can see.
“I’m having pretty much the worst day of my life,” said Brad Driver, a third-year commerce student while standing in a queue in the basement of the Library building.
Driver waited at the Student Fees office for 90 minutes last Friday afternoon in order to pay his tuition.
The first week of the school year is bringing students rushing in droves to the fees office in order to meet tuition deadlines.
According to course calendars, sixty percent of tuition was due on Sept. 7. However, interest will not be charged on late payments until October.
Like most students, Driver was unaware fees could be paid by mailing a cheque to the cashier’s office, or through online and telephone banking.
Driver drained his iPod battery before resorting to counting the tiles in the ceiling to keep himself occupied.
The long lineups are keeping students stuck up to an hour and a half—long enough to play a game of soccer—just to pay their fees.
Keith Alnwick, Ryerson’s registrar, says he’s tried to make it easier for students to pay fees.
“We’re doing the best we can,” he said, insisting the school has tried to maximize the use of work stations.
But, Driver said he arrived at 11 a.m. to a long lineup and saw just two staff members working the computer stations.
When he came back about 40 minutes later, the lineup was even longer.
There were four more personnel at the counter, but the office was still two people shy of filling the eight available computers at the desk.
The trail of impatient students didn’t end at the fees office. Lineups at Student Loans and Records and Registration, were lengthy as well.
Some students arrived at the counter to find they had waited in vain.
Second-year early childhood education student Ashley Espinosa was 45 minutes into her hour-long lineup when a visibly frustrated staff member emerged from behind her station, announcing she couldn’t take credit cards or personal cheques—something Espinosa was completely unaware of.
“I was debating whether to hit her but I made a career decision not to,” she joked.
Alnwick said he has e-mailed students with more information regarding fees options.
However, a search for e-mails from the registrar yields only one such message, sent Sept. 7, which offers students no information about how to pay their bills in another way.