Ryerson charged 11,724 students with a deferral fee this year, earning the school $820,680. PHOTO: NATALIA BALCERZAK

Deferral fees score Rye big bucks

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By Ramisha Farooq

This year, Ryerson will bank more than $820,000 by charging students who are unable to pay their tuition fees at once.

Ryerson, unlike several other Ontario universities, charges a $70 fee to students who split their charges into twice-yearly installments. Prior to 2009, students were unable to split tuition payments.

The university slapped more than 11,000 students with deferral fees this year. Around 10,000 were charged in the 2011-12 academic year, earning the school more than $700,000.

Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said the fee is meant to tide the school over financially between semesters.

“The deferral fee is really an estimate of the investment lost to the university by students not paying up front,” Levy said. “If you pay all your [tuition fees] on day one, the university can put that money in the bank and invest it and make some money. That loss of money by splitting it is the deferral fee.”

A monthly late fee of 1.25 per cent begins in October for students with any outstanding balance on their fall tuition at the end of September.

Deferral fees apply to students with an outstanding balance on their winter tuition at the end of September.

“It is important to look at when late fees start accumulating for those that do not have a deferral fee,” said Robyn Parr, assistant registrar of Enrollment Services and Student Fees at Ryerson. “The student without the deferral fee may end up paying more in late fees as a result.”

At the University of Toronto (U of T) and York University, students receiving financial aid may delay paying their fees until OSAP arrives.

Dana Hamilton, a first-year humanities major at U of T, is glad of her school’s policy.

“Students on OSAP obviously don’t have the funds to pay extra fees,” said Hamilton. “It’s an extra strain on their education.”

Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities declared a moratorium on both increasing and creating tuition deferral fees in March 2012.

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