Second-year culinary management student Ketan Tyagi shows his Algonquin U-Pass card. Photo credit: Jocelyn Galloway

The process of opting out of the student U-Pass for the winter semester just got easier.

Students will automatically be opted out of the U-Pass for the winter semester if they have already opted out in the fall, according to an Algonquin email sent out to students Nov. 19. Previously, students were required to go through an application process every semester to opt out of U-Pass fees to remove them from their tuition costs.

“There’s more flexibility to opt out of the pass,” said Claude Brulé, president of Algonquin College. “So, a lot of effort has gone into understanding the student’s pain point and being able to address it through those means.”

For students keeping their U-passes, they do not need to renew their card, as long as the student’s status or program has remained the same and they received a U-Pass in September. It is valid until April 30, 2021.

A U-Pass costs $218.03 per semester with a one-time administrative fee of $5.51 per academic year. Damaged or lost U-Pass cards cost $25 to replace.

Students may consider opting-out of the U-Pass because they live outside of the OC Transpo service area or STO service area, are registered with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, are a Para Transpo registrant who resides in a rural transit area, or are doing exclusive online studies.

According to Ketan Tyagi, 24, second-year culinary management student, the renewal of his U-Pass was as seamless this year compared to last.

‘“Everything has been a little different,” said Tyagi. “But classes are going good.”

Although he was not impacted by the U-Pass changes, he appreciates the other changes being made around campus such as the new self-screening app.

“We’re very mindful of the impact that this pandemic is having on our students, said Claude Brulé, president of Algonquin College. “We knew this from day one.”

In order for students to be eligible to receive a full U-Pass refund, they must opt out by the tenth day of the semester. However, students can opt out at any point during the term.