University of Toronto students win major tuition fee victory

Government of Ontario responds to pressure to eliminate flat tuition fee scheme

TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2013 /CNW/ - Students at the University of Toronto applaud the release of new tuition fee policy changes by the provincial government, limiting the amount of fees that the University can charge students. Previously, the University of Toronto could charge students for five courses, even if they only took three. This amounted to a 66 per cent tuition fee increase for no service improvement. Under the new policy, 100 per cent of tuition fees can only be charged if students are taking an 80 per cent course load or higher. This will save some students over $2300 per year.

"It is great that students at the University of Toronto will have some financial relief," said Munib Sajjad, President of the University of Toronto Students' Union. "I am encouraged that the government has listened to our concerns and responded to our recommendations."

Students at the University of Toronto have been opposing the flat fee structure since it was announced in 2009. Since the implementation of the program, students have found it difficult to have a part time job and do well in their studies, since they do not have the choice to reduce their course load under this tuition fee scheme. The flat fee scheme has also placed additional financial stresses onto students, worsening concerns about mental health.

"I am glad the government has responded to the thousands of petitions students at the University of Toronto have sent," said Agnes So, Vice-President University Affairs of the University of Toronto Students' Union. "But I think we need to keep pushing until there is no longer a way that students can be forced to pay for courses they do not take. It's simply unfair."

This year at the University of Toronto, domestic students in the Faculty of Arts & Science who could only take three courses were charged over $2300 for courses that they did not take. International students in the same situation were charged almost $13,000 more. The new policy will take effect over the next three years. In the meantime, no institution in the province will be allowed to move to this structure. "It's encouraging to know that the government recognizes that the flat fee scheme is unethical," said Melissa Theodore, Vice-President External of the University of Toronto Mississauga Students' Union. "I hope the fact that they are preventing other campuses from implementing this unethical tuition fee scheme means that they are considering getting rid of it altogether."

The University of Toronto Students' Union represents over 47,000 students at the University of Toronto St. George and Mississauga campuses.


SOURCE University of Toronto Students' Union

For further information:

Munib Sajjad, President, University of Toronto Students' Union, 647-262-6629
Agnes So, Vice-President External, University of Toronto Students' Union 647-996-0448
Melissa Theodore, Vice-President, External, University of Toronto Students' Union, 647-832-3497