Adding it up

Minor changes can often result in higher fees, frustration

Ryan Janz

A lot has changed at the University of Winnipeg in the five years I have attended – especially the minor details. Minor details, however, quickly add up.

The first and smallest change was the printing system. Your student ID card used to act as a credit card for printing paper on campus. One page cost exactly 10 cents to print, never more. If you had to print one page or 50 pages, the cost would always be in 10-cent increments.

With the new Equitrac system, not only is the process slower and more time consuming, but one page now costs $0.105. While this thousandth decimal place addition to the cost of my printing can be easily fixed by adding another quarter into my account, it seems like the university is taking advantage of the convenience store policy of “take-a-penny-leave-a-penny.”

Another minor change has been the addition of online registration. Before WebAdvisor, every student had to register in person and wait in line for hours, on top of the hours spent reading through the course calendar to choose the right courses.

WebAdvisor has indeed made it easier to choose courses and register. You can even pay your tuition through the system, but not without a hefty $50 fee.

I had no idea it was so expensive to press a few buttons. I have been furious at Ticketmaster for years for charging a minimum $10 convenience fee when I buy concert tickets online. Evidently, Ticketmaster’s online service is less greedy than the University of Winnipeg’s.

Evidently, Ticketmaster’s online service is less greedy than the University of Winnipeg’s

The tuition due date has also changed within the last few years. Tuition used to be due mid-September – now it is due the first day of lectures.

Among the many things a student worries about on the first day of classes (such as textbooks, room locations and class itself), tuition is now another task on that “to-do” list. It was nice to know that in the past, the university gave students time to settle before having to pay.

The refund policy has also changed along with the tuition due date. Now you have 100 per cent refund until Sept. 22 and zero refund after that. It used to be incremental with 100 per cent, 80 per cent, and 50 per cent dates of refund. Now, if you do poorly on a test or paper and find out on Sept. 23, you are forced to pay for an entire course if you decide to drop it.

I must say that I truly love it here at the U of W, but it is only the professors and fellow students who make my education worth the money.

The sum of all the minor changes would make me reconsider the university’s new slogan: “You of W: Where You (and your money) Matter Most.”

Matthew Rygiel is an English and communications student at the University of Winnipeg.

Published in Volume 65, Number 3 of The Uniter (September 16, 2010)

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