USC proposes largest fee decrease ever

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

USC VP-Finance Alison Todd

Jon Purdy

NOW THAT THE USC IS REDUCING STUDENT FEES, FAB DOLAN WILL HAVE TO PAY FOR HIS OWN BRAZILIAN WAXES. University Students' Council VP-Finance Alison Todd celebrated the cuts by tossing cash to students and hungry, hungry hobos.

At last night’s University Students’ Council meeting VP-finance Alison Todd unveiled the 2007/2008 USC budget, which includes Western’s largest ever student fee decrease.

Next year’s USC student fee will be reduced by $46.08.

Since January, Todd has been preparing the budget with the USC’s Board of Directors, President Fab Dolan, general manager Karen Jackson and controller Carrie Passi.

The document, which bases its breakdowns on a predicted enrolment of 27,686 undergraduate students next year, was reviewed and approved by the USC’s finance committee. It will be voted on by Council next Wednesday.

“It’s been a long process, but I’m very proud of the budget, and I think students will see that we’ve done well,” Todd said.

“This budget is more accurate than it’s ever been in the past and we’ve saved students a lot. I can guarantee this is the biggest reduction in fees Western students have ever seen.”

While several student fees were cut, Todd said student programming will be stronger next year due to a redistribution of internal operating funds.

Several long-term fees were eliminated, including a $15.83 fee covering a 15-year mortgage on a University Community Centre expansion and $19.94 fee covering a second mortgage for general UCC renovations.

A USC reserve fund of $10.92 was also eliminated. A goal of $3 million for the fund was established to cover costs in the case of a pandemic or a lockout by Western administration. Past budgets’ surpluses resulted in the goal being reached early, so the fee was eliminated.

A $1 fee supporting an off-campus YMCA day care was also eliminated, since the centre no longer offers any preferential services or discounts for Western students.

While students have payed this fee for two years without receiving preferential treatment, the USC has kept the fees " approximately $53,000 " and will use these funds for a scholarship for students with dependents.

Several fees increased according to the rate of inflation, which is 2.5 per cent.

The finance committee/grants fee was increased by 22 cents to $1.47 to include a new grant for Western’s branch of the World University Service of Canada’s Student Refugee Program and the Community Legal Services fee was increased by $1.25 to $4.75.

The bus-pass fee increased by about $5.50 due to additional charges added by the London Transit Commission.

The student health-plan fee remains $96. However, next year’s services will expand to include $500 per student for psychiatric services. This addition was made possible by previous surpluses. It was added to address Western’s Student Health Services’ long wait lists for psychiatric services.

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