Pay-by-course tuition not in near future
By Sara Marett
As the cost to attend university in Ontario may continue to rise in upcoming years, students brace themselves to dig deeper into their pockets or look for alternative ways to afford tuition fees. For some, it may mean juggling a part-time course load while working to pay their way through school.
A discussion paper written by Western's VP-academic Greg Moran last summer proposed the university charge tuition fees by course rather than by part-time or full-time status, in response to a growing number of students wanting more flexibility with the number of courses available to them.
Moran proposed for this new system, if passed by the university's Board of Governors, to be implemented by the 1998-99 school year. He recently admitted, however, that it is currently not feasible for the new fee payment program to be in place by next year.
"It's not a simple task to restructure the payment of tuition fees, many things would have to be adjusted, like scholarships for example," Moran said.
Currently, if a student enrolls in more than three courses, they must pay full-time tuition fees, which is the equivalent of five full-time courses, explained Western's deputy registrar Rob Tiffin. He said although there has been a slight decrease in part-time students in the last four years, there has been an increase in students taking four courses.
Under the existing part/full-time payment structure, students taking four courses are actually paying for five.
"It's a matter of getting what you pay for," said University Students' Council VP-student issues Sam Castiglione. He responded favourably to Moran's proposal of by-course tuition payment but had hesitations that the new system would actually be implemented in the near future. "It may result in a serious financial loss for the university," he said.
"The loss would be substantial," Tiffin confirmed. Moran added the proposal has not made it to the top of the university's agenda list but that conversation needs to begin soon in order for change to occur, particularly as post-secondary education becomes more expensive in Ontario.
"We would be fooling ourselves if we didn't accept that rising tuition fees will not put students in a position where it will be more difficult for them to attend university."
Castiglione added what students need right now, particularly at a time when Ontario's student aid program is not addressing the needs of students, is increased flexibility and the option to attend classes while working in order to afford ever-rising tuition fees.