In an email to students on Monday afternoon, Humber College detailed how tuition fees will work for the upcoming semester with the newly mandated Student Choice Initiative, breaking it down into two sections of ancillary fees and Enhanced Student Experience fees.
Ancillary fees are the compulsory and and “support student services and activities distinct from academic programming”, said the Office of the Registrar. At least several of these fees will fund some library services and sports.
The so-called “enhanced student experience” charges will fund IGNITE, the student union representing those enrolled at Humber and the University of Guelph-Humber, and its clubs. It also covers career planning programs, leadership development and the college’s alumni network.
The Student Choice Initiative, or SCI, was introduced by Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative provincial government earlier this year to allow students to opt-out of certain ancillary fees that were previously mandatory.
The announcement was made amid a 10 per cent tuition cut for domestic students and major slashes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program. The SCI and student financial aid cuts have caused significant backlash from student organizations, campus publications and students across Ontario.
The fees for the IGNITE student union break down into five categories: leadership programming, governance, events, career-focused programming and student financial relief. Each fee can be opted-out of individually and together cost $55.95.
The amount has previously been around $75 for all IGNITE fees but because the health and dental insurance plans are considered part of the mandatory bundle for those that do not already have it, this fee appears lower.
For full costs, the college encouraged students to sign into their MyHumber account and find more information through the “Student Account and Fees” tab. University of Guelph-Humber students can visit WebAdvisor.
The IGNITE optional fees apply the same to those enrolled at both Humber and Guelph-Humber.
Ercole Perrone, IGNITE’s executive director and top member of staff, told The Post earlier this year that the Humber College Board of Governors would have to approve the SCI process, following strict rules from the provincial government.
Perrone will be speaking with journalists from The Post on Tuesday, when there will likely be more details given around how the college and the student union worked to approve the optional student fees.
The IGNITE Board of Directors, made up of elected students, passed what was essentially a stopgap budget earlier this year that was later approved at the Annual General Meeting.
Chris Whitaker, president of the college, confirmed in that Humber’s approach to comply with the SCI would include core services that will remain paid for.
“There will also be a group of things which are there on an opt-in basis and then I think the idea is that students will be able to select from a menu what they want to support and what they don’t,” Whitaker told Humber News in an interview.
It was the first statement from the college administration on how the optional student fees will be presented, but it appears there was no further questioning on what exactly the “menu” of options will entail.
Provincial parliamentarian and secretary to the post-secondary education minister David Piccini told The Avro Post last week that it was largely up to each institution how the optional student fees would be carried out.
The college president also encouraged students at the time to take time to budget very carefully while financing is available, consider all options and “certainly seek out any advice or assistance from the various supports and services that exist at Humber”.
This story is developing and will be updated.