U of T starting work on online portal for Student Choice Initiative

ACORN Advisory Team being consulted as U of T waits for final framework from province

In preparation for the Student Choice Initiative (SCI) — the Ontario government’s plans to mandate an opt-out option for certain incidental fees — the university is using the ACORN Advisory Team to test user experience for what will become the online portal through which students will be able to opt out of incidental fees. The team is made up of 150 students who give input on ACORN applications.

The SCI is part of larger changes to postsecondary funding in Ontario, announced earlier this year alongside a 10 per cent cut to domestic tuition and changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program.

In an email to Advisory Team members, the ACORN Experience & Process Design Team asked for volunteers to test one-on-one research sessions for feedback on “initial collection of [the team’s] design work.”

In a statement to The Varsity, U of T spokesperson Elizabeth Church wrote that the university is still in “very preliminary design tests” for the SCI online portal, awaiting final guidelines from the province.

The lack of clear and final guidelines from the province has been brought to the attention of Governing Council numerous times in board meetings, as the fall semester deadline to implement the system looms.

Church went on to say that the Office of the Vice-Provost Students has been meeting with all 45 student societies directly and reviewing the fees for student societies and student services.

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