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Loyalist student government 2019-20 budget dropped

By Brock Butler [1]

BELLEVILLE – Loyalist College [2]‘s student government [3] budget for 2019-20 showed a massive drop in revenue from last year after the implementation of a provincial policy allowing students to opt out of paying some fees.

The Ontario government [4]‘s Student Choice Initiative, [5] which came into effect this past September, gives college and university students the option to opt out of some so-called ancillary fees – fees outside of tuition that help pay for student government and other programs and services.

Loyalist allowed students to opt out of four fees: for alumni services, which provide graduates with access to college events, communications and services;  for lockers to store their personal items; for student entertainment, which provides students with VIP access to special live-music and other special events; and a fee supporting student government.

This means if someone didn’t pay their ancillary fees for all four they wouldn’t get access to lockers, they would have to pay five dollars to get into Pub Night, they won’t be able to run for student government or vote in student government elections, and wouldn’t be able to connect with the college after graduation.

The student-government budget shows revenue for this academic year of $133,400; a lot less than the amount of revenue in the 2018-19 school year, and $154,600 less than anticipated expenses of $288,000 expected for this year.

Julie Cooper, the business manager of Loyalists student government, said in an email to QNet News that the $154,600 will be paid through Loyalist student government reserves. Reserves give a body like student government options when faced with an unexpected issue like the opt out policy introduced by the province. 

On November 21, The Ontario’s Divisional Court [6] had struck down the Student Choice Initiative but post-secondary institutions and student associations are still unclear on how to proceed after the SCI being struck down.

The University of Toronto has removed its incidental fee opt-out portal online.