Are U of T Incidental Fees Refundable?
The University of Toronto charges compulsory non-academic incidental fees that are non-refundable. Graduate students have the option of opting out of Health and Dental and other UTGSU student society support fees. For information on opt-ing out, please visit UTGSU Fees for details.
What are the total fees for the 2015-2016 session?
Current Full-time students in 2015-2016 will be paying $850.36 in Student Services fees. For information on previous incidental fees, visit the U of T Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees webpage or see below for an overview of past incidental fees.
Overview of Past Incidental Fees
|Athletics||Hart House||Student Life*||System Access Fee**|
* Starting in 2008-2009, the ‘Student Life’ fee was created by merging ‘Student Affairs’, ‘Student Services’ and ‘Health Services’ Fees.
** System Access is for ROSI – the student record computer system
|Athletics||Hart House||Student Affairs||Student Services||Health Services||System Access Fee**|
* HH: Removal of a temporary fee and a fee increase of $3.94
** System Access is for ROSI – the student record computer system
U of T also charges a $3.38 CANCOPY fee
The Council on Student Services (COSS)
In 1992-93, the U of T administration re-defined student services as non-academic and therefore no longer appropriate for budgetary support from the operating budget. The result was a student services fee imposed on all students, in effect increasing tuition through the back door. The ancillary services you are now paying for include the Office of Student Affairs, Housing, the Career Centre, Counselling and Learning, International Student Centre, Childcare Centres, Health Services, various student counsellor services, and the heating and maintenance of student society buildings. Where once these costs were paid by the university, they are now shouldered by each student at U of T and these fees are increasing at alarming rates (much like tuition fees).
The GSU, UTSU, and APUS aligned to fight the new fee. Despite all our efforts, Governing Council approved the new Student Services Fee in 1993. The students’ unions then joined in a fight to negotiate a protocol for a reasonable, fair and democratic way to approve fee increases that would undoubtedly come. A Protocol was finally signed in 1996 which created the Council on Student Services (COSS), with representatives from all three of the students’ unions. Unfortunately, each year since its inception has seen a continual struggle between students and administrators as we fight for transparent and accountable budgets and against unreasonable fee increases.
The spirit of the Protocol was such that increases above certain levels had to be approved by COSS. Services had the option of de-facto permanent increases of the lesser of CPI or UTI or temporary increases of the higher of the two. Anything above this needed the approval of COSS.
Incidental Fees – Council on Student Services (COSS)
UPDATE: September 2007
An application for a Judicial Review was jointly file in July by the GSU and the Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students (APUS). The application was filed after all other reasonable internal avenues were exhausted and it was recognised that the next appropriate step would be to have the issue go before a court. The application identified a number of procedural issues that the two students’ unions felt violated the COSS Protocol and resulted in a steep increase to a compulsory non-academic ancillary fee.
One week after the case was heard in court, the GSU and APUS received the decision of the judge on August 28. While the judge acknowledged that the process was not perfect, she ultimately dismissed the case. The GSU is considering its next steps. Please read the media release.
This year you will be paying $597.50 in Student Services’ fees.
In 1992–1993, the U of T administration re-defined student services as non-academic and therefore no longer guaranteed financial support from the University’s operating budget. The result was a student services fee imposed on all students, in effect increasing tuition fees through the back door.
A Protocol was signed between the students’ unions at the University and the University’s Governing Council in 1996, which created the Council on Student Services (COSS). Membership includes representatives from the full-time undergraduate students’ union, U of T Students’ Union (UTSU), the Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students (APUS), and the GSU. Representatives of each of these students’ unions hold the majority of votes on COSS. This body acts in an advisory role to the University Affairs Board (UAB) which may approve or reject the operating plans and budgets of the ancillary services. If COSS does not recommend approval of an operating plan and budget the UAB may only approve a permanent fee increase based on the lesser of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the U of T Index (UTI) and a temporary (3 year) increase of the greater index value. Unfortunately, since its inception it has been a struggle between students and administrators as students fight for transparent and accountable budgets and against unreasonable fee increases.
GSU representatives were active members of the advisory committees for all four recognized ancillaries fees in 2006–2007. This included participating in budget committees and attending meetings. The following is a report on the plans for these ancillaries for 2007–2008 and beyond. The GSU Council has ratified all decisions contained herein.
COSS Showdown 2006-2007
Typically, COSS meets 4 times during the year; an orientation to COSS members is provided at the first meeting; the 4 ancillary services present their proposed operating plans and budgets during the following 2 meeting; and, at the final meeting, members vote as to whether COSS will recommend to UAB approval or rejection of each operating plan and budget.
Only 2 COSS meetings were scheduled for 2006-2007. The student representatives from APUS, UTSU and GSU urged all members of COSS to allow for 2 more meetings to be scheduled as the students’ unions felt that there was not sufficient time to go through the proposed operating plans and budgets. This was rejected.
As a result of the services not having enough time to make their presentations, a third meeting was eventually scheduled. At this point only one service – Hart House – had concluded their presentation and had answered any questions or provided further information to members of COSS.
Again, APUS, UTSU and GSU proposed that another meeting be scheduled in order to go back to our respective boards or council to receive direction on the proposed fee increases as they do every year. This was rejected.
A motion was made to vote on all fee increases regardless of whether all presentations by the services had concluded or not. APUS, UTSU and GSU opposed the motion as the students’ unions representatives would not vote without direction; however, the motion was carried. Representatives from each of the students’ unions voted against recommending any fee increase to the student services.
On March 13 the COSS report came before UAB. The Board approved all fee increases within its jurisdiction and then – much to the students’ unions alarm – recommended that COSS reconvene to consider any fee increase that UAB did not have the authority to approve without a recommendation to do so by COSS.
After taking the issue to the GSU Council and receiving direction, the GSU responded with the following statement:
“The GSU Council affirms that the 2006-2007 COSS cycle has concluded. At the March 13, 2007 meeting of the UAB the 2007-2008 operating plans of the student services were approved. As UAB cannot approve a permanent increase higher than either UTI or CPI, the Board could not approve the proposed fee increase of the Varsity stadium. What was then suggested at this Board meeting was unprecedented; in hope of this particular fee being approved, the Board suggested that another COSS meeting be held. This is the first time that UAB has asked for another COSS meeting to consider a fee that had already been rejected after approving all the other fees. This sets an unusual precedent that would effectively allow UAB to request COSS to reconvene at any time to review any fee increase of any amount over what UAB could directly approve. This action should not be permitted and the validity of this proposed meeting should be questioned.
The GSU Council affirmed that the 2006-2007 COSS cycle concluded at its final scheduled meeting for the year on March 2, 2007. At this meeting, this advisory body to UAB rejected all the proposed operating plans for 2007-2008. In response to the decision of UAB, the GSU Council at its’ meeting on March 28, 2007 passed the following motion:
Be It Resolved That the GSU condemn the University Affairs Board (UAB) request to reconvene the Council on Student Services (COSS) on budgetary items previously rejected.
Be It Further Resolved That the GSU withdraw its voting members of COSS from any further meetings regarding the 2007-2008 operation plans.”
Student Affairs requested a net increase of 2% ($0.47) per term. This request was denied by COSS. At UAB, the recommendation of COSS was rejected and a permanent increase of 2% was approved.
Student Services and Health Services
Student Services requested a net increase of 2.5% ($1.41) per term. This request was denied by COSS. A request for an increase of 2% ($0.35) per term to the Health Services fee was rejected by COSS. At UAB, the request for a permanent 2% increase and temporary increase of 0.5% to the Student Services fee was approved. UAB approved a permanent 2% increase to Health Services fee.
Hart House requested a net increase of 3.5% ($1.33) per term. This request was denied by COSS. At UAB, the recommendation of COSS was rejected and a permanent increase of 2% and a temporary increase of 1.5% were approved.
Faculty of Physical Education and Health
The Faculty of Physical Health and Education requested a net increase of 16.4% ($17.19) per term. This fee included the UTI calculated value of 6.9% plus a $10 fee to support the Varsity Centre operations. This request was denied by COSS. At UAB, the recommendation of COSS was rejected and a permanent increase of 2% and temporary increase of 7.16% were approved.
What an interesting question, because what you see on your fee statement isn’t always what you think. When it comes to increases in ancillary fees, things tend to get a bit complicated. For starters, there are two types of fee increases: permanent and temporary. Temporary increases last 3 years and are usually greater in value than the permanent increases. Services are supposed to ask for temporary increases when they have a special project that may need extra funding. However, some services have taken this increase as a default increase when their unreasonable permanent increase was defeated at COSS.
The result? Three years down the road the temporary increase disappears and the service is left with a big hole in their budget. Not our fault, right? Except that now, we, the students, are expected to fill that revenue gap on the grounds that an increase wouldn’t result in a real increase in fees. Or more precisely, if nobody says anything, we won’t notice. We continue to object to this practice.