PHOTO ILLUSTRATION Photo credit: Tyler Kidd

The Algonquin Students’ Association is working towards providing more flexibility for students when it comes to your ancillary fees.

Algonquin’s Board of Governors identified in 2016-17 that Algonquin College had the highest ancillary fees of Ontario Colleges, according to documents obtained by The Times. The SA does not have the ability to control these costs, that is left to the Board of Governors to establish. The SA is aware of the mounting financial pressure faced by Algonquin students and has tried to identify different avenues where they might be able to affect change.

“We have no role in setting fees,” explained SA President Deijanelle Simon. That said, the SA is working actively on a solution.

The SA is currently looking at U-pass usage among students to determine if the current arrangement is best for Algonquin students. Students now pay $202.46 per term for their U-pass.

“We don’t have the same transit usage as Ottawa U or Carleton [University],” said Karl Houlihan, one of the SA’s student directors. He went on to explain the SA has begun discussions with OC Transpo to determine if students are using the U-pass.

If the SA determines that U-pass usage among students is low then the SA will explore options. Though nothing firm has been established options might include allowing students to opt out of the U-pass.

As it stands now, students who are outside of OC Transpo’s service range can apply for a refund of their U-pass.

Program-specific fees vary widely.

While many course fees are between $15 and $60 some courses such as international management are as low as $5, others such as baking practical I is $735 and preclinic praticum II is a whopping $1,207 (part of the dental hygiene program), according to Course Related Incidental Fees document available on the Algonquin College website. These fees are specific to each course.

Ancillary fees are the additional fees outside of tuition. They include eTextbook fees, student activity fee, student sports fee, health plan fee, OC Transpo’s U-pass and program related fees to name a few.

Students are able to opt out of the health plan fee – as long as they do so within 30 days of the start term. Requests are submitted through the Student Association – not the Registrar’s Office.