Students overcharged

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A required class for second-year journalists was plagued with mass confusion and extra tuition charges. Rhiannon Russell investigates

Second-year journalism students are still scratching their heads after a RAMSS technicality produced a $551 charge on some accounts and a credit on others earlier in the semester.

An email sent out at the beginning of February clarified the charge was for JRN 112 — introduction to online journalism, a mandatory second-year course. Wendy Peters, program manager, clarified that the Registrar’s office audited the fees and was adjusting the billing units to reflect the five to seven billing-unit range listed in the tuition tables as a full course-load.

Journalism student Samantha Lui paid her tuition in September and had no outstanding charges during the fall semester. But in January, a $551 credit was in her account and the student fees office told her Ryerson owed her that amount.

Turns out, JRN 112 was billed incorrectly and Lui’s $551 credit wasn’t a credit after all.

According to registrar Keith Alnwick, only 24 students actually had to pay an additional $551 this semester, because the rest paid it in September with their tuition.

However, due to a RAMSS error, the charge showed up — initially, as a credit in some cases — on approximately 128 second-year students’ accounts.

Alnwick said the registrar’s office worked with Peters in the summer to ensure correct billing to students Registrar Keith Alnwick. but once winter timetables were loaded to RAMSS, the changes they made no longer applied.

“There were a series of students in second year who were underbilled as a result of this,” Alnwick said. “It’s a RAMSS issue.”

Alex Lombardi overpaid his tuition in the fall and had a $551.41 credit in his account.

At the beginning of February, he filled out a refund form and submitted it to the student fees office. At the time, he was told he’d get a cheque for that amount.

Like Lui, Lombardi won’t receive a cheque and his account balance is now $0.

“I thought I had $500 to my name,” he said.

“I think most people were angry because they didn’t know why they were being charged,” said Lui.

She said this is another example of RAMSS’ inefficiency. “There are always problems with course registration and people not getting into the classes they want because of lagging and overcapacity,” she said.

“Ryerson needs to improve on building a more efficient system to help students organize their courses and fees.”

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