Despite campus amenities being closed, students are paying for them
By Joe Ayres, Social Media Coordinator
Post-secondary institutions in BC are charging students full-tuition fees for a mostly online semester, including charges for campus amenities which students are discouraged from using.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Douglas College is moving to online classes while running limited services. The college highlights that both the library and fitness center are open for pickup and by appointment, respectively, on its page of COVID-19 information and resources. However, the same page also said, “In support of physical distancing, we encourage you to attend the campus only when necessary.”
Fees included in Douglas College’s tuition this year are: Students’ Union fees, other student activity fees, registration and service fee, and a U-Pass—if the student has classes on campus. There are additional fees placed on students depending on the program. For example, according to the “Student activity, lab, Co-op and other fees,” document found on the Douglas College website, an additional $107.80 is the “lab fee for all 3 credit mathematics courses you are enrolled in to cover operational costs of these labs.” The same document also notes that lab schedules are available.
For students, the prospect of paying full tuition for services they won’t be using is daunting, especially because many students have been unable to work and save for the semester. The issue isn’t restricted to Douglas College either.
Aliya Boulanger is a third-year kinesthesiology student at SFU who has been attempting to reach out to staff and students at the school with little luck.
“For me, it’s just straight up a moral issue, everything is moving to online,” said Boulanger. “That shift from in-person to online was handled from the professors’ point of view, but the students haven’t gotten anything.”
Boulanger has been writing letters to SFU faculty but has yet to receive a response. At the same time, Boulanger has been attempting to appeal to students at SFU but hasn’t gotten much more than vocal support.
Boulanger said, “People are emotionally and intellectually and physically exhausted, they are going to be like ‘whatever, I’ll just pay.’”
Meanwhile, students who are entering post-secondary education for the first time are also struggling. Kelsey Moran, a first-year psychology student at Langara College, is walking in blind to the college experience.
While this semester was supposed to be an opportunity to meet people and build her career, so far, it’s been a frustrating experience. Moran suffers from dyslexia and ADHD.
“I have a hard time sitting still, and I have a hard time reading for long periods. If they’re boring and if it’s not an interactive kind of experience, I’ll have a harder time,” said Moran.
Moran had debt before the pandemic started, which was only made worse in the ensuing months. She had applied for a student line of credit but had been rejected because she didn’t work enough hours; Moran works in childcare.
“I’m frustrated by it, I guess everybody’s mad about the pandemic,” said Moran. “But that’s just one thing that definitely was a huge letdown. I’m paying $7,000 to essentially have an education that I was able to have in high school for free.”