Raise fees! - Macleans.ca

Raise fees!

Queen’s University students propose added fee to boost operating budget


While most students are usually screaming and protesting about exorbitant tuition fees across the province in the annual Drop Fees campaign, two students at Queen’s University are trying the opposite approach.

Students Morgan Campbell and James Simpson a proposing a new $70 opt-outable fee to be paid by students to support services  like TAs, maintenance and teaching materials, the Queen’s Journal reported. The fee would have to be adopted via student referendum.

Campbell told the Journal: “The amount our tuition can increase each year does not keep up with the rising costs.” This may be true, as it is not just Queen’s University that is experiencing a shortage in funds projected for this year and next year’s  budget. According to the article Queen’s is looking at a projected $8.3 million deficit for their 2009-2010 operating budget.

But while the Drop Fees campaign has never really made any sense in light of these continuing deficits, this new plan to give the university money instead of trying to convince them to stop taking so much from students doesn’t seem to solve the problem either. By Campbell’s own admission, student response to their idea hasn’t been great, as is to be expected when asking students — who already scrape for laundry and beer money — for some extra cash. Though the $70 may not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of tuition dollars, it’s extra money Campbell is proposing students aren’t obligated to give, so why would they?

It’s not that they aren’t “aware” of the issues as Campbell argues. It’s that they don’t want to.

The article quotes Campbell as saying their talks with the school’s administration have been more positive. No kidding. You’re telling the university you want to round up some extra cash for them instead of protesting fees on their doorstep. In that favourable turnaround the administration could be nothing but supportive.

While Campbell’s argument is correct in that a boost in the operating budget would go towards improving services that directly or indirectly benefit students, it is flawed in that the money should be coming from students’ pockets.

Even if every Queen’s student contributed $70, which they won’t, the point is that you’re paying into an institution and you’re expecting to receive a certain level of education and services you payed for. Its not a selfish argument, but if students take the approach the university does, that ultimately a university is a business and as students you are its customers, the logic fails. If you pay $1.99 for McDonald’s to make you a cheeseburger without cheese, you wouldn’t throw $5 at them so that they can improve the quality of the burger and make it right next time.

You’d send the burger back. While it’s hard to assess the quality of the deal Queen’s students are getting, paying more for services they already deserve isn’t the answer.


Raise fees!

  1. Hey look! Two random students get equal coverage as a massive movement to reduce fees! Fair and Balanced at Macleans.ca. We expect nothing less!

  2. More like a “massive” bowel movement, amirite?

    You mean the same massive movement that has been recycled over the last 10 years? The same one that has had no success whatsoever, yet the CFS continues to spend valuable resources on? That massive movement? The CFS is like John Tory- constantly fails yet somehow stays in power. At least these 2 students are actually addressing the budget shortfalls at universities, something that the CFS has failed to do. And they aren’t using asinine tactics like zombie costumes, drum beatings or sit-ins.

    I better shut up or the CFS might sue me.

  3. All right! I thought my “bowel” movement comment would be moderated! Good on Macleans for showing that poo jokes and serious student politics discussions can exist together.

  4. There’s another way in which it fails. Students who decide to pay the $70 will not get a better education than those who opt out, so their is no incentive to NOT opt out from the individual point of view. (Sure, if everyone opted in it would be better for everyone, but you can’t expect everyone to collaborate… this is like the prisoner’s dilemma… from a selfish point of view it’s always better to opt out.)

  5. The increase in professional programs in Alberta is going to crush students who can not live at home. There is proposed 40% increase in tuition fees. Already the fees are high along with the cost of living and food. The chances of getting a part-time job to cover the excessive costs is slim. Also the demands of a professional program do not allow students to work on top of their studies. What will happen is independent students will have a higher rate debt. With an increased lack of professional positions available after they have finished their program. Many students will not be able to afford to become a doctor nurse teacher or engineer simply because of the higher fees. Also young families need a stronger start then owing 40 thousand from a two year professional program. Our country simply can not afford to have a young population in massive debt. When the baby boomers retire we will have to pay for the excessive health costs. Yet the younger generation will simply be paying off their student debt and opting out of having a family.

  6. well calling students who use food banks, and are being swallowed by student debt “bowel movements” is certainly respectful…

    i’m surprised macleans can even still pretend this is journalism with editorial remarks like “while the Drop Fees campaign has never really made any sense in light of these continuing deficits.” Hmm, our secondary school budgets are tight – should we impose tuition fees there? our hospital budgets are tight – should we impose user fees there? collectively, society has decided to fund those services through other means than user fees. obviously Drop Fees is not suggesting ballooning deficits, but public funding.

  7. AMR:

    I will clarify. Students that use food banks and are taking on crushing amounts of debt are not pieces of poo. I am one of these students. The whole useless “Drop Fees” movement has failed! Every year the CFS suckers incoming students to participate. I challenge anyone here to show tangible results from the Drop Fees movement. There are none! I would be much happier being represented by CASA or a local union- they have much better track records. Sure, you could point fingers at the CFS for suing students, intimidating critics at university news papers, having murky by-laws, but the real problem is that they do nothing to cut my tuition! In fact, they add a couple bucks on just so I can be represented by them. Gee… Thanks.

  8. Just a reminder to everyone to keep it clean.

  9. Yep, it’s hard for university students to pay for school. Tuition does keep going up. Can’t we just catch a break?

    Well, I look at it this way. The more students who go to school, the less federal and provincial funding there is to go around. Rising tuition is probably the result of more people having access to university, which should be applauded. If anything, funding in Canada for universities has increased. But it can only increase so much – especially considering the size of deficits and the low prospect for economic growth.

    I think we’ve hit a decent balance in Canada, whereby students may find it difficult to pay for tuition, but there are always enough loans, jobs and grants to make it happen. I know people will debate me on this, but I know first-hand that everyone who wants it badly enough will find a way to pay their loans.

    If tuition was free, there would be even more slackers wasting tax payer money and their own time, contributing to Canada’s productivity problem.

    It’s true that some people have to work harder than others to pay for school, but it’s also true that no one who is truly motivated and capable of university gets left behind. No one I’ve ever met. If a person chooses to go to university, our society supports them. Then it’s up to them to work hard and get a degree. So quit whining, get a job or a loan and realise that not everything in life is handed to you for free.

  10. “While it’s hard to *asses the quality of the deal Queen’s students are getting, paying more for services they already deserve isn’t the answer.” It should read assess not asses.