By Scott Strasser, September 1 2016 —
University of Calgary students participating in group study abroad programs will have to shell out less cash to travel the world from now on.
The U of C’s Tuition and Fee Consultation Committee has removed a $150 administrative fee for students taking part in the programs.
Former Students’ Union executives Levi Nilson and Romy Garrido flagged the admin fee as unnecessary at a Tuition and Fee Consultation Committee meeting last February.
“Ms. Garrido and Mr. Nilson found it odd students were paying a $150 admin fee for group study abroad programs when there was already a study abroad mandatory-non instructional fee which was supposed to pay for those same costs,” said SU vice-president external Tristan Bray, who now sits on the committee. “[The university] looked into it and decided they would no longer be charging the $150 admin fee.”
Group study abroad programs at the U of C typically include a lumped cost to cover airfare, visa requirements, accommodation and meals. The admin fee was included in the program cost.
The changes were implemented this summer, meaning students participating in group study abroad programs will not have to pay the $150 this year.
According to their website, the U of C’s Centre for International Students and Study Abroad office facilitates more than 40 group study abroad programs around the world.
Because the admin fee was previously approved, deputy provost Kevin McQuillan said students who took part in past programs will not be reimbursed for the $150 fee.
“When we look at the student service fees, it does not cover all activities within a unit and there are some units that have to charge additional fees for services,“ McQuillan said. “We recognize that group study programs are transformative experiences for our students and we want to make them accessible as possible.”
Bray said around 500 students participate in group study abroad programs each year. The SU asserts that removing the admin fee saves students a total of about $75,000 a year.
“We’re just happy we saved students some money and it’s a fairly transparent process,” Bray said.