Midterm season not the time for tuition invoices

Stock image of a student lying stressed out on the floor surrounded by textbooks and a laptop. CREDIT: PROSTOCK-STUDIO
Educational institutions need to be considerate of when they release invoices and to be lenient with students as they don't know their financial situations outside of school.

Finances are one of the many things that stress students out, both domestic and international. In Canada, post-secondary education comes at a price.

As young adults, we take on a lot of financial responsibility. Necessary factors like rent, food, and utilities eat up what little money we’ve saved from our time working in the off-season of school. In a post-COVID world, inflation has not been making life any easier. At the time of writing this article, the interest rate has increased to five per cent due to inflation, according to the Bank of Canada.

Since the time of transitioning from high school to college, I’ve been trying to be financially independent, paying what bills I can as an active student. By the end of summer, a good portion of the money I made has been put towards my Fanshawe tuition, for just the fall semester.

Get the TD Insurance app.

I received an email with an invoice and a payment deadline in regards to the winter semester in the middle of October. I get that these notices are reminders that the due dates for these fees are coming up, but I was generally annoyed with the fact that I had received it when we are still two months out from the start of the winter term, and currently in the midst of midterm exams.

On top of all this, I applied for the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) and was told by the government that my funds were going to be released past the expected due date that Fanshawe had stated. When informing the Office of the Registrar and the college’s financial department, I was reassured by both departments that I would not be charged any late fees. This turned out not to be true as I then received an additional amount on top of what was due in what was labeled as “late fees” even though I had no outstanding balances before school started.

This time of year is not the time to be receiving notices about paying for tuition. For many students, midterms mean stress is at an all-time high and we don’t need to see a statement with four digits staring back at us during this time.

Many friends of mine who are international students have complained about having to scramble to pay for their tuition in early October, with tuition amounts as high as $12,000 dollars. Having to write to their native country bank in need of a student loan as soon as possible to meet the due date adds unneeded pressure when the stress of having to pay a late fee is unforgiving.

I believe the College needs to keep in mind that, as students, we are juggling many things during the year and that maybe scheduling the release of tuition invoices should be at a more fitting and appropriate time frame, like over the Christmas break. By taking factors, like students’ mental health, into consideration, it saves many from headaches caused by hounding and stressful invoices.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.