Government's new ancillary fee policy rewards rule breakers by changing the rules

    TORONTO, Sept. 26 /CNW/ - The government responded today to concerns
raised by students by announcing the release of a new protocol to govern
ancillary fees collected from college students. Ancillary fees are collected
from students for non-academic services that are above and beyond tuition
fees. Students assert that while the new rules improve accountability, they
may simply entrench the collection of back-door tuition fees.
    "Rather than addressing students' concerns that college administrators
are collecting prohibited ancillary fees, the government's new ancillary fee
policy rewards rule breakers by changing the rules," said Shelley Melanson,
Ontario Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students.
    The policy, which is slated to take effect in fall 2009, will allow for
ancillary fees to be increased by up to 20 percent annually.
    "Students already face annual tuition fee increases between four to eight
percent," said Melanson. "By allowing fees to increase by up to 20 percent,
students are again facing tuition fee increases through the back door."
    A class-action lawsuit launched by two college students in June 2007
brought public attention to prohibited ancillary fees being charged at two
Ontario colleges. The court ruled the matter to be the responsibility of the
McGuinty government. Rather than correcting many of the fees that were in
called into question by the two plaintiffs, the new policy simply makes many
of them permissible.
    "Students strongly support the new rules that require approval from a
students' unions before any ancillary fees can be increased," said Melanson.
"It is very positive that there will be a stronger democratic provision for
accountability included in the new policy, but without clear ancillary fee
regulations, the door is left open for colleges ask students to make up for
government underfunding."
    "We will try to work closely with the Ministry to ensure the details of
this policy are worked out in the interest of Ontario's College students" said

    The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites over 300,000 college
    and university students and more than 35 students' unions throughout the

For further information:

For further information: Shelley Melanson, Chairperson, CFS-Ontario,
(416) 882-9927 (cell); Joel Duff, Ontario Organiser, (416) 707-0349 (cell)

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