The cheque's in the mail
By Dave Yasvinski
Western's intersession and summer school students are facing a rare occurance the University owes them money.
Tuition fees for summer students were set back in March based on an expected 10 per cent increase. However, since the actual tuition increase was only 9.3 per cent for many faculties, some students were overcharged for their courses.
Faculties affected by the overdue increase were arts, health sciences, kinesiology, information and media studies, music, nursing, science and social science.
The overestimated increase means summer students were charged $4.80 extra for every full course and $2.40 extra for every half course they enrolled in from these faculties.
Deputy registrar Rob Tiffin said the excess amount will be given back to students. "What we're doing is identifying students who are returning and applying this refund against their fall tuition," he said.
Tiffin said there were two options under consideration for refunding money to students not returning to Western this fall. The first option was to offer students a coupon for a university transcript and the second was to simply send affected students a cheque for the difference.
Nick Iozzo, VP-education for the University Students' Council, was clearly unhappy with the first possibility. "They took too much money out of my pocket and are giving it back as monopoly money," he said.
However, Tiffin said because both options would involve about the same amount of work and be equally expensive they decided to send out cheques. "Students not registered by the end of August will be sent a cheque." He added they are waiting to have a better idea of which students will be returning and which will not.
"We are trying to keep this number down because it's expensive to generate any sort of correspondence," Tiffin said.
USC President Ian Armour said it's important the money is refunded to students even though it is not a large amount per student. "It might not seem like a lot of money but when you add it up it's a whack of cash."
It was presumptuous to have assumed the increase would be 10 per cent, Armour said. "They should have underestimated [the tuition increase] and not overestimated a better policy would have been to bill people more later."
Armour added as long as money is returned to students he would be happy. "If people get their money back I think it's acceptable the way they're dealing with it," he said.
Third-year sociology student Tamara Edmunds said students should just be given a deadline to claim the money owed to them. "If they don't claim it the money should be put towards bursaries."
Edmunds, who is currently enrolled in intersession and will not be returning in the fall added she is not concerned about the amount owed to her. "When I graduate I'll be so happy they can keep the four dollars. Western has been really good to me."