Know your fees, make your choice!
Dear Niagara College students,
As students in the arena of post secondary education your future is a result of the choices you make, and the Ontario governments Student Choice Initiative is no different. The Student Choice Initiative was implemented to give students the choice to opt out of the ancillary fees that are charged over and above program tuition. Opting out of NCSAC ancillary fees will have an effect on your campus life experience such as, your opportunity for employment, engagement in social activities, and advocacy resources. As students, I encourage you to educate yourself, be responsible, and make your own choices for your future.
- Your NCSAC President, Tom Price
Read our full open letter
What do you want to know?
If this is the first time you're hearing about the Student Choice Initiative, let us help you understand what it’s all about.
On January 17, 2019 the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities made an announcement that included changes to OSAP - a 10% discount on tuition - and the introduction of the Student Choice Initiative (SCI). The SCI enables students to opt-out of some fees that are deemed non-essential.
It gives you CHOICE in what you are a member of and also certain areas of the college you can engage with including different services, events and programs offered by your NCSAC. Some ancillary fees have been deemed essential by the Ministry, based on the level of support they add to student safety, learning opportunities, and student health support systems, and for those essential fees, you will not have the option to opt-out.
Ancillary Fee Policy
Secondly, this will give you a plain language interpretation of the regulations as they pertain to Ancillary Fees.
Ancillary fees are charged to support those services and activities not supported by the general purpose operating grant, capital grants and tuition fees, as specified in the Minister’s Binding Policy Directive on Tuition and Ancillary Fees.
With the exception of certain fees that are exempt from the protocol agreements specified by MTCU, ancillary fees must:
Be non-tuition related;
Have been approved according to the protocol agreement;
Be approved by the college’s Board of Governors;
Be announced through the college’s calendar and/or website before the deadline for accepting offers of admission.
The Minister’s Binding Policy Directive on Tuition and Ancillary Fees requires that certain guidelines be upheld through a Fee Protocol Agreement governed by the Fee Protocol Committee. Each individual college has their own fee protocol agreement. A copy of the Tuition and Ancillary Fee Reporting has been used to help create this page and is the main source of information relating to the Fee Protocol guidelines.
Compulsory Ancillary Fees
Ok, we're going to get to the fees but first one last explanation is needed. Compulsory ancillary fees are those that a student is required to pay in addition to tuition fees to enroll in or successfully complete any course or program eligible for general purpose operating grant funding.
Compulsory fees are defined by the Ministry as:
“Ancillary fees that a student is required to pay in order to enroll in or successfully complete any course or program of instruction. There are two types of compulsory ancillary fees: Program ancillary fees which are compulsory for students in applicable programs; and institutional ancillary fees which are compulsory for all students."
Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities,
Minister’s Binding Policy Directive, Tuition and Ancillary Fees (December 2013)
Compulsory ancillary fees are regulated by the Fee Protocol Committee. Once agreed upon and approved, these fees are mandatory and charged to all students unless otherwise stated.
The following list are your current fees for the 2019-20 year including an explanation of each fee. Fees are listed for full time students; essential ancillary fees are prorated for students registered on a part-time basis.
The Essential Fees (Mandatory)
These fees have been deemed mandatory by the Ministry's framework.
Student Buildings Fee
This fee supports the capital investment and operating costs of facilities that host student activities and services such as The Core (Welland), The Armoury (NOTL), lounge spaces and NCSAC food services.
Amount Charged: $80.00/semester
ACADEMIC support - NCSAC Student Resources
This fee provides academic support from your NCSAC in navigating various policies including but not limited to academic appeals and student issues processes within student services.
Amount Charged: $3.00/semester
Student Health Plan - Domestic
This fee supplies student benefits, services and administration as approved by NCSAC. Students can opt out of the program only in the event that proof of adequate alternative coverage has been provided. This is specific to the domestic-student health plan, provided by We Speak Student.
Amount Charged: $132.00/semester
Student Transit Pass
The U-Pass fee provides for the cost of transit services and route coverage, as approved and administered by the Niagara College Student Administrative Council (NCSAC). The U-Pass provides students with access to transit across most of the Niagara Region to the Niagara College Campuses.
Amount Charged: $192.00/semester
The Non-Essential Fees (OPTIONAL)
These will equal out to ONLY$39.35/semester
These are the fees you have the choice to pay, or decide to opt-out of should you feel they are non-essential to your student experience at Niagara College.
The following fees do not fall under the Ministry criteria as an essential service to students. While we hope they add value, and additional benefit, you have been given the freedom to choose specifically which of these you’d like to pay for. The following fees are services directly provided by Your NCSAC!
NCSAC Membership Fee
The NCSAC Membership fee supports the governance side of Your NCSAC. From student advocacy on campus, to leadership and employment opportunities, this fee is the basis of what NCSAC stands for; to support students and amplify their voice.
If you opt-out of Membership: If you choose to opt-out of membership, you will not be able to run for the NCSAC Board of Directors, vote in student referendums or elections, be employed by NCSAC on campus (we provide jobs on our promotional street team, in our food operations, student coordinator positions, and many other opportunities).
Amount Charged: $11.25/semester
NCSAC Social engagement Fee
The NCSAC Social Engagement fee provides the base for NCSAC student events on campus. From pub nights and karaoke to trivia nights and guest speakers on campus, your social programming fee will provide you with a mix of free events and discounted events throughout the semester.
If you opt-out of Social Engagement Fee: If you choose to opt-out of Social Programming, you will pay full retail price for each event on campus and may miss out on some events that are open exclusively to those students who have paid the social programming fee (typically capacity dependent).
Amount Charged: $16.10/semester
NCSAC Clubs Fee
The NCSAC Clubs fee supports the clubs system on campus. From general interest to academic clubs, your NCSAC makes it easy for students to socialize and for like-minded students to get together. We provide funding and room bookings to clubs, adding to campus life. From Dungeons and Dragons to cleaning up the environment, NCSAC clubs have something for everyone!
If you opt-out of Clubs: If you choose to opt-out of Clubs, you will not be able to start a club, join a club, or take part in any club activities for the semester.
Amount Charged: $1.50/semester
NCSAC Services Fee
The NCSAC Services fee financially supports the various services that Your NCSAC currently provides for free. On the economy of scale, our services are directly dependent on this fee to remain free.
If you opt-out of Services: If you choose to opt-out of Services, you will not receive a free student handbook (you will have to purchase one instead), access to discounted attraction tickets, seasonal services (garbage tags, etc), or have access to other NCSAC Services that we feel are valuable.
Amount Charged: $5.50/semester
The sustainability fee supports sustainable initiatives at Niagara College! From student-based ideas coming to life, to greening NC campuses, and helping reduce our carbon footprint and environmental impact on the Niagara Region. The sustainability fee provides the financial support to add a sustainable lens.
If you opt out: Although you may not personally miss out on anything if you opt-out of this fee, we at NCSAC depend on the funds from this fee to drive forward sustainability initiatives. The more students who opt out of the fee, the less financial support we have to provide environmental focused initiatives.
Amount Charged: $5.00/ semester
Can I opt back into a fee once i opt-out?
No, you can not opt back into a fee during the semester in which you opted-out. Students’ Choice opt-outs occur each semester, so you could choose to opt-out in first semester, but choose to stay opted-in during second semester. NCSAC encourages you to think ahead for your semester and weigh the savings of the ancillary fee with what you are forgoing.
How much will I save if I opt-out of all optional NCSAC
You will save $39.35/semester if you opt-out of all NCSAC ancillary fees.
Why can I not opt-out of the transit, student buildings, and health plan fees?
In the Ministry’s Ancillary Fee Policy Directive, they have identified areas of NCSAC operations to be “essential/mandatory” and therefore these fees cannot be opted-out of.These fees deemed essential have been categorized by the Ministry as such because of the level of support they add to student safety, student-learning support, or student health support on campus.
Can i still attend events if i opt out of the NCSAC Social engagement fee?
Some events that NCSAC produces will be exclusively for students who have stayed opted-in to the NCSAC Social Engagement fee and those same students will often have an opportunity to purchase advance tickets.Other events will be open to all students, however, students who have opted-out of the NCSAC Social Engagement fee will pay full retail price to attend.
Can I still attend the Rise and Shine breakfast program if i opt out of the NCSAC Membership fee?
Yes, you can. Although the Ministry did not deem food insecurity essential, your NCSAC believes that in order to learn effectively, you must be nourished effectively.We are working with campus partners to ensure that the breakfast program can be maintained on campus.
Can i still run, or get involved with NCSAC if I opt-out of the NCSAC membership fee?
No, you will not be able to work for your NCSAC or run for a position on the NCSAC Board of Directors if you opt-out of the NCSAC Membership fee.
If I choose to opt-out of specific fees, how is the NCSAC affected?
NCSAC is able to offer the exciting events and supportive services that we do based on economies of scale; the more students who stay opted-in to a certain fee, the more flexibility and funding we have to deliver quality events and services. NCSAC budgets will obviously be reduced as students opt-out of fees, but we will still exist to serve the students of Niagara College!
Why are there not more fees to opt-out of?
NCSAC worked closely with our campus partners to ensure compliance with the Ministry’s Ancillary Fee Policy Directive.The Ministry deemed some of our major NCSAC fees essential such as Transit, Health Plan and Student Buildings, which is where many of our costs are incurred.We then calculated the cost to operate clubs, events, services, and other non-essential areas and offered them to you with the option to opt-out.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please reach out to the following people:
Tom Price, NCSAC President:
P: Ext: 4226/7256
Steve Kosh, Executive Director:
P: Ext: 7402/4222