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U of T lowers certain incidental fees, waives others for the summer semester

Summer enrollment sees increase amidst COVID-19 pandemic
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SHANNA HUNTER/THE VARSITY
SHANNA HUNTER/THE VARSITY

In an email to The Varsity, a university spokesperson confirmed that certain incidental fees for the summer 2020 semester have been lowered by up to 40 per cent, and in some cases completely waived. Summer enrollment numbers have also increased this year according to U of T.

Fee breakdown

Fees for athletic services have been reduced by 40 per cent. While full-time UTSG students were originally intended to pay $198.28 for Kinesiology & Physical Education (KPE) Co-Curricular Programs, Services & Facilities, students will now be paying $118.97.

Full-time UTM and UTSC students will pay a lower fee for KPE Co-Curricular Programs, Services & Facilities — at $13.80, down from the original $23 — but must also pay their own campus specific athletic fees. UTM students will now pay $123.53 for Recreation, Athletics & Wellness, as opposed to $205.88, and UTSC students will now pay $88.37 for Athletics & Recreation, as opposed to $147.29.

Hart House’s fee has been reduced by approximately 30 per cent — from an original fee of $105.43 lowered to $73.80 for full-time UTSG students. UTM and UTSC students will pay $2.26 for Hart House, reduced from $3.23.

While these facilities and programs have halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “Staff are continuing to provide services to students even though buildings are closed,” a university spokesperson wrote to The Varsity. “Hart House and sport and recreation staff on all three campuses also have moved many programs online as a way to support students and create community.”

A number of student life fees have also been waived, particularly those for the Early Learning Centre and fees “related to access to space for student groups.”

Overall, full-time UTSG students have seen an 11 per cent reduction in Student Services fees — from $98.89 to $88.06. These fees provide funding for career services and family care among others. Fees for Student Services have been reduced by 44 per cent for UTM students — from $201.25 to $112.28.

UTSC’s Student Services fees have been reduced by three per cent for full-time students — from $19.78 to $19.13 — however, its $33.45 student buildings fee has been waived. UTM fees for shuttle service and the U-Pass have also been waived.

Service charges for unpaid fees on ACORN were suspended as of March 26.

Campus musings

Recently, students across U of T had been voicing their disappointment that incidental fees related to facilities and services that have been cancelled due to COVID-19 had not been reduced or waived.

While the university only addressed these fee reductions today, a university spokesperson confirmed to The Varsity that “all the reductions were in place on the first day of summer billings, which was Monday, April 20.”

Yesterday, the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) released a document on its Facebook page calling on the university to lower fees related to closed facilities, extend the minimum payment deadline for summer tuition, and reduce course fees.

While the university has lowered incidental fees, UTSU President Joshua Bowman remarked that he is “far from thinking of this as a victory.” He relayed that the UTSU is communicating with the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students daily regarding its other demands for student relief.

Summer enrollment

In an email sent to The Varsity, a U of T spokesperson confirmed that summer enrollment numbers are up and university officials are working to add new sections to accommodate the increased demand.

“We know many students who are at home or are remaining in our residences want to use their time this summer to continue their studies and we are working to respond to this demand and make it easier for them to do that,” they noted in their email.

While the full extent of how COVID-19 has impacted the university’s budget isn’t clear, the U of T spokesperson did comment that building closures lowered certain expenses, while other additional costs have arisen due to the pandemic.

U of T has also reported that it has dispersed more than $2.3 million to students through its emergency bursaries. This funding provides relief to students who have experienced unexpected expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Varsity has reached out to U of T Media Relations for comment.

Editor’s Note (April 24, 1:32pm): This article has been updated to correct the reduced Hart House fee for full-time UTSG students.

Editor’s Note (April 30, 3:48pm): This article has been updated to include the date in which fee reductions appeared on ACORN.