University, student unions come together to reduce fees

Brock University students will collectively save more than $4.2 million in the 2020/21 academic year thanks to a significant reduction in University and student union fees.

In recognition of the challenges facing students in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brock University along with the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) and the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) have reduced their ancillary fees for the upcoming year.

While students will save significantly, the services, support and student experience Brock has become known for will continue.

“Brock University is known across the country for its outstanding student experience, and maintaining that experience remains a top priority, even though the 2020-21 academic year may look different,” said Lynn Wells, Brock University Provost and Vice-President, Academic. “The University appreciates the leadership and flexibility our student unions have shown in advocating for students and helping them deal with the unique situation the COVID-19 pandemic has caused.”

Brock University has reduced a variety of its student ancillary fees by 25 per cent for undergraduate students including the athletics fee, recreational facilities fee and numerous Brock Student Life fees. For graduate students, the University has reduced athletics, recreation facility and Zone fitness fees by 25 to 50 per cent.

In addition, all fees associated with the Zone Fitness Centre expansion will be delayed until Spring 2021 at the earliest, even if public health guidelines allow the Zone to be open this year.

For undergraduate students, BUSU has reduced its ancillary fees by about 40 per cent. The specific reductions vary depending on the individual fee or levy, but some highlights include a 100 per cent reduction in the per-credit strategic expansion, green levy and deferred maintenance fees, a 50 per cent reduction in the safety and federal advocacy fees and a 25 per cent reduction in the Brock TV fee, clubs levy, and engagement levy.

“We know this year has presented unique challenges for everyone,” said BUSU President Asad Jalib. “We’re doing everything we can to deliver on our mission and provide value for our students.”

Also reduced by 50 per cent is the bus pass fee, saving undergraduate and graduate students more than $2.5 million while still giving students full access throughout the year to the St. Catharines Transit system.

Jalib said even though there will be fewer students in St. Catharines this fall, continuing to offer access to reliable transportation remains a top priority.

Likewise, BUSU’s health and dental plan is fully operational with no reductions to coverage. Claims can be made fully online regardless of the location of students.

Although the vast majority of undergraduate classes will be held online for the Fall Term, Brock University graduate students will have more access to campus to allow their research projects and some smaller classes to continue under approved public health guidelines.

“The reduction in ancillary fees represents the next logical step in ensuring the current climate is reflected in the costs students are faced with,” said GSA President Christopher Yendt.

Yendt said the GSA has maintained the supports and services available to the University’s graduate students, while successfully advocating for additional assistance such as the COVID-19 Graduate Student Emergency Bursary (also available to undergrad students through the COVID-19 Undergraduate Student Emergency Bursary) program accommodations and funding extensions announced in June.

“At each step of the way, the GSA has advocated for the needs of our members, seeking practical solutions to address these challenges,” Yendt said.

For more information on the specific changes to the 2020-21 fees, visit the Student Accounts and Financial Aid webpages undergraduate student fees here and for graduate student fees here.

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