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Fees hiked for students taking extra courses to help make up for shortfall

Full-time Algonquin students should be prepared to pay on average $315 per course more in tuition fees this year if they are enrolling in more than their “maximum allowable course load for their respective level,” according to the Registrar’s Office.

Students who find themselves in this position — dubbed “overload registration” in the statement — will be contacted by a representative of the Registrar’s Office and informed of the additional fees owed.

“If at that point a student did not want to proceed, that would be an option,” said registrar Krista Pearson.

The amount of additional fees owed is based on the course with the fewest number of hours in the student’s timetable.

In an example provided by Pearson, a student enrolled with overload registration would have to pay an additional $315 for a 45-hour standard rate course, as the rate for such is $7 per hour.

This is the first time in Algonquin’s history a course overload fee has been enacted. The policy comes into effect as part of a larger initiative aimed at handling budget deficits that the college is predicted to incur.

The college has forecast “a significant budget impact” due to changes related to Bill 148 — a provincial law to ensure fair wages — said Duane McNair, vice president of the college’s finance and administration department.

The overload registration policy aims to address this, and other cost-cutting measures are also being discussed.

“We had to weigh this option against other options…trying to lessen other adverse impacts,” McNair said.

Research conducted by college administration in advance of instituting the policy — including analyzing the number of overload registrants in previous years — found its application would not have a considerable negative effect on students. According to the Registrar’s Office, “fewer than eight per cent of…full-time students register with a course overload.”

Pearson has stated that while the course overload fee applies to all students fitting the criteria, it may be alleviated or otherwise addressed by the Registrar’s Office if there are “exceptional circumstances.”

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