Volume 93, Issue 37

Thursday, November 4, 1999


Students charged for opt-out

Martin talks money

Biotech receives $20 million fund

Wearing two hats worries teaching association

LSAT's day in court postponed

U of M tenured prof grieves his June dismissal



Caught on campus

Students charged for opt-out

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

An administrative fee has decreased this year's health plan opt-out cheques by about the cost of a pint of beer and concerned some Western students.

Steven Allen, services manager with the University Students' Council, said a $3.60 fee has been subtracted from all undergraduate student opt-out cheques. The cheques being issued are for the amount of $87.80. Students were charged $91.40 in their tuition payment.

According to Jim Walden, USC general manager, the fee will cover the costs incurred by a number of administrative and cheque writing processes. He added the decision to charge the students opting out of the plan is an effort to achieve equity among students.

"We decided to institute what we view as a principal of fairness," Walden said, stating in past years the fees have only been placed on those who remained in the plan.

According to VP-finance Derrick Taub, this is the first year a fee is being levied on those opting out. Taub added he has only received two formal complaints on the matter.

Second-year health sciences student Tyler McBride, said he thinks the fee is just a way for the school to get more money out of students. "They're being sneaky about it," McBride said. "We pay enough at this school. I don't think I should have to pay for them to give me my money back."

Walden described the plan as a mandatory part of the university payment process claiming students are not allowed to opt-out of other costs such as athletic and campus recreation fees even if they are not used. "This is just part of attending university," he said. "You are in [the plan] until you opt-out. Opting out is a privilege here at Western, not a right."

Second-year kinesiology student Beth Baston, who picked up her cheque yesterday, said she is a bit bothered by the fact the university deems it necessary to force students to pay the nominal fee. "Based on how many people opt-out it seems to show people don't want it," she said. "It doesn't seem right they take money away from those who never wanted it in the first place."

Walden said a student referendum held in 1989 passed the current structure of the USC's health plan by an overwhelming majority.

According to Allen 7,548 students opted out of the plan this year. 13,106 students are still covered by the USC run plan, he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999