Student fees may drop $65
By Kevin Gale
Western students could see the ancillary fees they pay to the university decrease as much as $65 next year.
The proposed fee per student for next year is $353.27, down from $417.84. The fees could have been made lower if the campus and community affairs committee had accepted two proposals from the student services committee, at a meeting April 7.
One proposal was to eliminate $10 per student given to campus recreation and intercollegiate athletics for the Fowler-Kennedy Athletic Injuries Clinic and the phasing out of the $24.65 paid to the financial aid office over the next three years.
Dave Tompkins, chair of the student services committee, said the clinic fee was originally accepted on the grounds that students would receive preferential treatment at the clinic. However, giving preferential treatment to anyone contravenes the Canada Health Act.
The CCAC decided instead to accept the administration's proposal of a three per cent cut to campus recreation and a five per cent cut to the $76 paid to intercollegiate athletics.
Jim Etherington, chair of CCAC, said the university would have to find $200,000 somewhere in the core budget for the university if the clinic subsidy was eliminated. "It's a service provided for students. With the tight budgets it is hard to find money to replace the fee," he said.
The other recommendation from the student committee was based on the argument the financial aid office was essential to the operation of the university and should be funded by the core budget.
Tompkins said the office's expenses, amounting to $450,000, should be picked up by the registrar's office. "There are a lot of overlaps," he said. "When [the two units] merged it was to save costs, but the fees didn't go down."
Although the classification of the unit is still debatable, there is an absence of alternative sources of funds for the office, Etherington said, adding the students will have to continue to foot the bill.
The other decreases to fees include the elimination of the $8 scholarship office fee and the $50 student support fee, that will be endowed and used for student bursaries as administered by the University Students' Council. The recommendations must now be approved by the Board of Governors at their April 24 meeting.