Algonquin’s drug insurance program can leave some students struggling to make ends meet at the beginning of the semester.

Currently there is a four week waiting period at the beginning of the semester in which students must pay 100 per cent of their prescription costs before their benefits kick in. Students may then send in their receipts to the insurer and wait eight weeks to receive their refund.

This is done because the college wants to allow students the time to opt out of the student health plan if they are already covered under their parents’ insurance.

However, some students can be required to pick up a hefty tab before they are reimbursed, depending on their drug costs. Brian Mack, a student in the computer programming has spent $400 before his insurance plan kicked in, and now must wait until near the end of the semester to get his money back.

“(The college) has to wait to make sure we stay in our program and what not. Maybe for second year students it would make sense to have coverage on the outset,” said Mack. “It was an inconvenience since I was trying to not use OSAP in my final year so I had to tack that cost on as well as tuition.”

It is a lot of money for students at the beginning of the semester when you also include all the other expenses students have. There are textbooks that must be purchased, and students in a bring your own device program have to spend a considerable amount of money on a new computer.

Depending on the program, there may be equipment that must be purchased. Whether it be safety boots and goggles or a camera, they are all added expenses to a student starting the school year.

“Luckily I am in a program which doesn’t require me to spend thousands of dollars on technology, books and equipment.”