By Chris Adams
Incoming students may start paying tuition early when they accept admission to the University of Calgary.
Administration is considering a new $400 deposit for students who accept admission to the U of C in 2016.
Associate registrar admissions and recruitment Scott Robinson said the deposit will help administration get a better idea of how many students will attend the university. He added that the U of C is one of the only universities in Canada that does not charge a tuition deposit.
“The intent is that any new student entering would pay a deposit that would go toward their tuition fees and to confirm their seat in the program that they’ve been offered admission to,” Robinson said.
Students will not be able to get a refund if they decide not to attend the U of C.
The U of C used to charge an annual optional tuition deposit. Administration abolished the deposit because students were simply opting out of it.
“I think people were left wondering, ‘why do we have this when some students clearly paid this and some students didn’t,’” Robinson said. “There was a lot of administrative time backing out when they didn’t pay it because there really was no repercussion.”
Robinson distinguishes the new deposit from the old one by calling it an admissions acceptance deposit.
The deadline for admission acceptance will likely be moved to June 1. The University of British Columbia, McGill and the University of Alberta all require a tuition deposit and have June 1 deadlines.
Students’ Union vice-president academic Hana Kadri said the changes are meant to encourage students to accept admission sooner.
“We actually have one of the later final dates to accept in Canada, so it kind of puts us at the back,” Kadri said. “Students are waiting for other universities to get back to them before accepting ours. That kind of makes us a less competitive institution.”
Students with low-income status can opt-out of the $100 acceptance fee the university currently charges. Robinson said low-income students won’t be able to opt-out of the new deposit.
“More likely what we would do is have a waiver program for students who qualify [low-income]. But that’s really what we have to explore and we need to make sure we have those accommodations similar to other institutions,” Robinson said.
Robinson said students who are approved for student loans will likely be able to waive the deposit.
Student leaders and members of enrolment services discussed the deposit at Calendar and Curriculum Committee. While Calendar and Curriculum Committee has outlined plans for the deposit, nothing is final.
“There still is consultation that needs to happen here, approval that needs to happen,” Robinson said.