By Adrian Morrow
Associate News Editor
President Sheldon Levy has quashed a senate motion to split tuition fee payments evenly between both semesters.
The motion proposed giving students the choice of paying half their fees at the start of the year and half at the start of second semester. Currently, students pay the lion’s share of their fees at the start of the year. The motion also called on the school to re-evaluate the late fees it charges students who can’t pay their tuition on time.
Levy said he rejected the Senate motion because financial decisions are a matter for the Board of Governors, not the senate.
“The university sees merit in the issue,” he said. “I know we are looking at ways to find some level of accommodation with the students.”
After Levy’s decision, administrators met with students on Monday to discuss the possibility of changing the system.
Toby Whitfield, a second-year business management student, brought the motion forward because it’s inconvenient for students to pay all their tuition up front if they don’t receive all their student loan money at the same time.
“During orientation week, you hear this a lot from students that it would be convenient if it was split up,” he said. “Students only receive 60 per cent of their OSAP at the start of the year. That amount of OSAP might not be enough to pay the tuition fees.”
He’s also concerned that students who miss a payment have to pay interest and might go into debt.
Whitfield was disappointed that the motion won’t go before the Senate, but that the meeting with administration produced positive discussion.
“The university is definitely aware of this and that students are concerned,” he said.
Zouheir Fawaz, vice-provost students, who was at the Monday meeting, said the school was looking at its options.
“There was agreement in principle on the issues motivating this request,” he said. “We’re looking at this very carefully and we are taking it very seriously.”
He said the school was weighing several factors, including the cost to the school of changing the system and the benefit for students.
He wants to make sure that, if the school does change the system, they don’t have to make up for lost revenue by charging students more in other areas, he said.
The advantage to the school of charging all the fees up front is that the money collects more interest, said Nora Loreto, president of the Ryerson Students’ Union, who supported the motion and met with Fawaz.
“It’s asking a lot of students, asking for $5,000 to $15,000 up front. That’s high,” she said.