School fees at McGill and Concordia universities remain the same despite many services moving online for fall semester
MONTREAL -- Almost nothing about university life will look the same this year: students will work from home, classrooms and libraries will be closed, and most activities are off-limits.
One thing hasn’t changed, though: the bill.
Mandatory student fees are not going down at Montreal English universities, even though these largely fund on-campus services.
Students, saying they’re struggling financially, are not happy about it.
“I get it, there’s a lot of financial implications in having moved online, but it sucks that we still have to bear the brunt of that,” said one student when reached Thursday.
“Paying for fees like building maintenance…is confusing to me.”
Another said it rankled considering the bang for those bucks already seemed to be declining, even before the services were completely cut off.
“The fees are pretty minor, but the big one that stands out is the athletics fee, which has always gotten bigger and bigger and the services kinda get reduced every year,” the student said.
The McGill website states that athletics fees for full-time undergraduate students is $148.42. A McGill spokesperson said it is reducing the athletics fee by 50 per cent for the fall semester "as public health restrictions may affect the availability of select services and/or spaces that are typically accessible during the academic year."
With the discount, they will be charged $74.21 in athletics fees.
Most of the school’s services will be available to students remotely, adding that “fees are paid for the general operation of the service and will be charged unless the service is completely unavailable.”
At Concordia, undergrads pay nearly $540 each semester in compulsory fees.
“We’re asking for fee reduction because if we are not using the facilities at the university… if we are not using the labs, if we don't have any labs, why are we paying more than usual fees?” said one student at that school.
In a statement, Concordia said that “almost all our existing services continue to be offered through online and phone channels, and in person when possible.”
There will also be new services for the fall “created specifically to support students,” the university said.
To some students, haggling over campus fees is frustrating since many have a bigger ask: to lower tuition since they won’t be getting the same quality of education working online.