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The Business of University Fees

in Registered Education Savings Plan, University Costs

For those of us who have kids about to return to University we are about to see the onslaught of fees that are charged by all Universities (in Canada). University fees continue to be become more and more intricate, complicated and expensive.

There are many fees being charged, but the two that caught my eye (on my daughter’s university fees bill from Queen’s University) were:

Grad Health Insurance 2016 Fall 2016/09/30 $280.00
Grad Dental Insurance 2016 Fall 2016/09/30 $220.00

For those who do not want to do the arithmetic, that is $500 for 4 months.

university fees
Don’t see any beer taxes on the tuition bill (luckily)

Remember that if your child is in school your health insurance plan covers both Health & Dental (if you are covered that is), so you really don’t need to pay this fee, and most universities will allow your child to opt out of the charges (which seem quite high to me). I have checked with our friends at LSM Insurance who think the fees are a little high, but not too bad. Another factor to take into consideration is that a lot of Health Plans have positive enrollment clauses (I am with SUN Life for health insurance and that is the case), where you must every year (after a child turns 19 I think) go to the Insurers web site (or send in a form) stating that your child is still at school, or the child loses their coverage under the plan.

How easy is it to opt-out of the health and dental in the university fees schedule ? At most schools, not as simple as you might think, and deciphering which fees are optional, and which are mandatory is a real quagmire of data.

I remember folks opting out of fees when I was at University, but typically those were the folks that were paying their own way, and didn’t want to pay for things they weren’t going to use.

What are some other fees from Queens University ? These add up to almost 25% of the tuition bill we are paying (note that residence or living expenses are not here either). Still think you won’t need an RESP to help your kids go to University? I’d also like to remind those with younger kids that there is no legislation limiting the fee levels (tuition yes) or how much they can increase.

An Example Tuition Bill (2016)

ChargeAmount
Student Assistance Levy$40.15
Education Society Fee$10.00
Athletics$168.41
Student Wellness Services$58.93
Campus Observation$0.50
Work Bursary Program$5.38
Student Life Centre$21.50
SGPS Society Fee$45.72
Telephone Aid LIne Kingston$0.75
Legal Aid$5.00
Sexual Assault Crisis Centre$1.25
Canadian Federation of Student$16.24
SGPS Student Advisors$3.81
SGPS Accessibility$3.00
The Queen’s Journal$3.50
CFRC$7.50
Walkhome$19.86
Oxfam$0.87
Bus-It$66.25
Qns Internl Affairs Associatio$1.00
SGPS Sports Fund$2.00
Queen’s Food Centre$1.25
HIV Aids Regional Srvcs.$1.00
Union Gallery$3.00
Queen’s Daycare$1.00
Four Directions Aborig Stdnt C$1.00
Dawn House Women’s Shltr$1.07
Q Intern Stdnt Soc Bursary Pgm$0.71
Student Refugee Support$3.37
Reelout Art Project$1.80
Positive Space Program$0.34
Kingston Youth Shelter Project$1.00
Yellow Bike Action Group$0.60
Ban Righ Foundation$3.00
The Grad Club$20.00
Centre for Teaching & Learning$1.35
Sexual Health Resource Centre$0.92
SGPS Sustainability$1.50
Levana Gender Advocacy Centre$0.81
Kgston Loving Spoonful Charity$2.00
Grad Health Insurance$280.00
Grad Dental Insurance$220.00

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{ 11 comments }

  • Susan August 31, 2020, 10:24 PM

    Third Yr BA Domestic (FT)
    $3,033.50
    CUSA Health Insurance
    $218.45
    CUSA/GSA – UPASS FEE (FALL)
    $218.03
    Athletics Fee
    $102.30
    Health and Counselling Fee
    $34.41
    University Centre (UG)
    $27.20
    Omnibus
    $20.88
    Fund.Qi
    $9.99
    Cdn Fed of Students (CAN & ON)
    $8.73
    Student Opportunities & Spaces
    $7.45
    CKCU FM 93.1
    $7.45
    Student Life & Success Program
    $7.06
    Career Development Fee
    $5.30
    CUSA/GSA – UPASS ADMIN F/W
    $4.52
    Health & Mental Wellness
    $3.96
    OPIRG
    $3.86
    Clubs and Societies
    $3.73
    Accessibility Building Fund
    $3.07
    Millennium Village Fee
    $3.00
    Charlatan
    $3.00
    Carleton Legal Project
    $2.25
    Ombudsperson
    $1.92
    Sexual Violence Prevention
    $1.66
    Emergency Response Team Fee
    $1.39
    Foot Patrol
    $1.35
    WUSC
    $1.29
    Academic Support Peer Tutoring
    $1.29
    Garden Spot
    $1.22
    World Food Program
    $1.13
    CUSA Bursary Fund
    $1.00
    CASG
    $0.61
    Debating Society
    $0.50
    Sock n’ Buskin
    $0.46
    Interval House
    $0.31
    Fall 2020 Term Charges
    $3,742.27

    Reply
  • Susan August 31, 2020, 10:23 PM

    Last year the Ontario government made it that there were certain fees you could opt out of but there was a court case so this year you can’t. My issue as a parent is that the school doesn’t recognize that it’s the parents navigating this financial stuff but the can’t talk to you due to privacy laws. The student has to authorize you but there still isn’t a separate parent portal. I was authorized for one thing but not another and I really struggled. Finally I just figured out that I log in under his login. I try not to read his school work lol.
    The health insurance opt out was a pain the first year. We had to provide proof that he was covered 100% between our 2 plans. But 2nd year was really simple. Just a confirmation that things were the same.

    For this year, he can opt out of the bus pass. I am sure there are going to be complaints about some of the other fees like the gym fees since his school (Carleton) is not doing in person classes for the whole year (September 2020 to April 2021). That second semester was just recently decided. Before that it was optional attendance for second semester.

    And just for comparison here’s a look at our fees

    Reply
    • bigcajunman September 1, 2020, 7:47 AM

      WOW, that is a lot. Yes, due to “privacy concerns” I couldn’t do anything for my daughters, so I had to play harrassing Dad to get them to cancel the Health and Dental coverages. Yes, the rest of all of those fees are, um, huge. My Alma Mater’s fees are still higher (University of Waterloo) because it adds things like Co-Op fees and such too! You still think you don’t need an RESP

      Reply
  • Susan July 31, 2018, 6:12 AM

    In their defence (did I really just say that?) I think we be insurance is for 2 terms.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman July 31, 2018, 7:01 AM

      Not sure on that one, she was being billed every 4 months.

      Reply
  • Potato July 30, 2016, 7:55 PM

    And opting out processes can be as diverse as the charges — sometimes you have to go to the student’s union to get your health & dental insurance refunded, to the registrar to opt out of another fee, etc., etc…. every semester.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman July 31, 2016, 6:46 AM

      That is the biggest issue I have, is that while I would never accuse the Universities of making the process purposely very cumbersome, it does seem that way at some schools.

      If Ms. Wynne is truthful about no tuition charges, will we still have to pay these fees? 🙂

      Reply
  • KC July 29, 2016, 9:30 AM

    Ah yes, the wonderful auxiliary fees. I don’t definitely miss it but then I did take advantage of a number of services.

    The insurance is very pricey absolutely but at least you have the luxury of opting out of it. When I was in university, there were many students who did not have their own insurance so it was imposed on students whether or not you’ve had one. However, price was a lot more reasonable, $150 for the school year. It was just a pain to claim anything!

    Reply
    • bigcajunman July 29, 2016, 12:56 PM

      My daughters are both investigating how to opt out of a lot of the fees. Some are OK, the Bus Pass is OK, and so is the donation to Oxfam, but it would be nice if we got the option to add it, instead of the option to remove it.

      Reply
      • KC July 29, 2016, 1:05 PM

        Oh, I agree but you have to keep in mind that everyone is overwhelmed with university/college and opting to add certain items would only add to the stress, not to mention paperwork (like past history, etc). At least this way here, everything is set up for the student community and if you want to opt out (where you can), just sign a piece of paper and you’re done.

        Reply
        • bigcajunman July 29, 2016, 1:07 PM

          Yeh, and I wish it was that simple (to opt-out), each school has its own interesting way for students to opt-out (some much more easy than others).

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