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Student association at UW prepping for funding decrease from student fees

Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association is planning for a 30 per cent opt out rate
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File photo. Blair Adams/KitchenerToday

Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA), previously known as the Federation of Students, is preparing for the start of the fall semester and the drop in student fees along with it.

Earlier this year, the Ford government introduced changes to OSAP including making some student fees optional.

Seneca Velling, Vice President of Operations & Finance, says the association is budgeting for a 30 per cent opt out rate. However, he says they won't know the full impact of the changes until at least a year in.

"I would challenge the government to determine how they would operate if portion of taxes were optional. How would you pave roads, how would you pay for healthcare and educational costs for children?"

He is confident there won't be a massive drop in funding, saying the optional fees cover things like clubs and events which are "incredibly popular."

However, they will have to recoup cost somehow.

"There's now an onus on to increase sponsorship for events or either do ticketing at the events. So, we will likely be offering for now the same level of events and opportunities, but often will mean that if you didn't pay your fee there's a ticket price to get in."

The optional event fee is a mere $5.58.

Clubs are expected to be affected too, but to what extent is still unknown for now. Velling says before, each club was guaranteed $75 to their budget along with any membership fees they collect. 

"Now they'll probably rely more heavily on membership fees for their club, which means the price point for students to get the same level of service will likely go up."

He says administrative fees have already been passed onto the students. Before they could pull from their budget to cover those costs. 

"Now we have to offload those costs from operating budget to the fund itself. So the health plan fee had to increase. The dental plan had to increase. We have a legal protection service that's an optional fee. That fee had to increase. Our student refugee program fee had to go up and it hasn't gone up since 2007. Our Upass program had to go up."

He says they've increased program costs by 2.5 per cent of premiums to cover the administrative components.


Phi Doan

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