Affiliate college students can now officially pencil some extra money into their budgets next year. The University Students’ Council recently passed a motion to change the student fee structure, which had been imposing an undue financial burden on affiliate students.
Under the old structure, Brescia, Huron and King’s students had to pay the full $210.35 USC fee, which primarily serves main campus students, along with their own affiliate student council fees. This amounted to another $79 for a King’s students, for example.
“We had to pay double fees on both ends—students were being overcharged and underserved,” Barshan Quadry, president of the King’s University College Students’ Council, explained.
With the new system, currently under negotiation, HBK students will pay a smaller percentage of the USC fee. This will primarily cover overarching fees not restricted to individual campuses, such as the president’s office. Affiliate councils will also have an option to opt out of the faculty council fee and the grants committee fee.
According to Meagan Zettler, president of the Brescia University College Students’ Council, affiliates should pay a smaller percentage of the USC fee—between 20 and 40 per cent—because a large part of the USC fee pays for advocacy on the part of main campus students, and only main campus students.
“Though our students pay 100 per cent to the USC, seen on our campuses as the main campus students’ council, technically main campus student representatives have no jurisdiction on our campuses,” she said.
“For example, the administration at Brescia would recognize myself as the legitimate student representative for Brescia students on lobbying issues, not Andrew [Forgione, the USC president],” she continued.
Quadry also noted affiliates have many internal services that are duplicated on main campus, taking up valuable funding from their own services.
“For example, the USC has EnviroWestern and we have our Environmental King’s Club and Enviro commissioners. Obviously we don’t have enough funds to fund their budget because we’re paying double fees,” he said.
“It’s better if our Enviro commissioners are empowered with the resources to identify issues at King’s, and the same with Huron and Brescia.”
Laurence Batmazian, a science councillor for the USC, likened upcoming system to the split between federal and provincial taxes.
“It makes sense if you think of main campus as Ontario and you think of HBK as, say, Newfoundland, and in the sense that the percentage of the USC fee the affiliates are going to pay as federal taxes,” he explained.
“That 20 to 40 per cent of the USC fee that affiliates are to pay covers things that encompass all Western students, just like federal taxes do for Canada. The remaining 80 per cent that main campus is now paying that affiliates will not, you could consider as provincial fees.”