Grad fees hard to swallow

Column by Amy Jones
Column by Amy Jones

Congratulations on your graduation! That’ll be $10, please.

If you’re like me, having to pay to graduate leaves a bad taste in your mouth. It might seem petty to groan and moan about ten bucks, but it’s really just the principle of it.

When I paid my $10 last week, I asked what it was for.

“Administration costs,” was the answer.

Okay, fair enough. But wait – graduation happens every year. Twice. As a routine part of the registration office’s duties, shouldn’t that be part of regular administration?

The cost of studying

During every year of my post-secondary education, it never fails to amaze me how colleges find ways to nickel-and-dime their students. The reason it feels like such a kick in the ass is because students are already drowning in skyrocketing tuition costs.

A 2012 report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives showed that since 1990, average tuition and required fees for students have risen by 6.2 per cent each year. That’s three times the rate of inflation.

On average, it costs over $6,000 a year to study full-time. That’s before books, supplies, food, and rent. Don’t bother with anything beyond the basics, you can’t afford it.

So yeah, when you tell students they have to pay an extra $10 for a bit of paper work, it does feel like an insult.

Institutions get their pound of flesh

But here’s the real shame. That tiny graduation fee I’m getting upset over, pales in comparison to all the other compulsory fees we pay every semester.

Full-time students, in addition to their tuition, had to pay the college an extra $450 dollars this year.

While half of that was for the student health plan, the rest went to the students’ union’s coffers and the ‘building legacy fund’.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you’re getting any bang for your buck there.

Reported by Amy Jones

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