Last fee is the last straw for graduates

Kelly McDowell is in her fourth year of Journalism at Ryerson University.

Kelly McDowell is in her fourth year of Journalism at Ryerson University. (Leslie Walker/ The Ryersonian)

Here I am, halfway through my last semester of university.

I need to apply for graduation and I think, “Well that must mean they actually expect me to make it to convocation, that’s a good sign.” I log onto RAMSS, something I do only when necessary, and click on ‘My Academics.’ I’m buzzing with excitement. I’m so close. No more school … No more tuition … suddenly I see eight words I never expected: “A $40 administration fee applies to each application.”

I had to pull out my Visa to graduate. Most students don’t have disposable income. Worse, I don’t even know where the money is going. Is this going towards a cap and gown? Food and drink at the ceremony? To general funds? If this extra cost goes towards painting that damn road again, I will lose it.

As a journalism student, I feel lucky because I have never had to buy many books. I calculated how much I am spending on tuition, transportation, food and books this semester, and I reached a grand total of $4,915.35. After multiplying my expenses by the eight total semesters I was at Ryerson, I realized my education had cost nearly $40,000.

Compared to the whopping total I spent on tuition, an extra $40 doesn’t seem like much. But that $40 was the breaking point for my patience for Ryerson’s extra fees.

Less than three months ago, I had to pay $20 for someone to sign a piece of paper confirming that I was still a student so I qualified for my mom’s benefits after I turned 21. The same emotion applies for this extra graduation fee: frankly pissed off.

It seems a bit unreasonable that students have to pay this graduation fee after all the money we’ve already given to Ryerson for our degrees.

I could easily come up with better ways that I could have spent my money:

-24 medium Tim Hortons coffees

-200 Timbits

-13 TTC rides

-three movie tickets at Cineplex

-admission to the Ripley’s Aquarium or the Toronto Zoo

-10 slices of pizza from Big Slice

-seven pints of Canadian at the Ram in the Rye

-four Ryerson mugs from the campus store

-five $7 meals at Metro.

The list could go on, but you get the point. I don’t appreciate unknown “administration fees” and I’m sure my fellow graduates don’t either. Even more ridiculous, if a student has not yet applied, the fee increased to $90 on Feb. 26. Why the $50 price jump? Is it to ensure that the student population was scared into applying “on time?”

There are so many things that my money could go towards, like a train ticket to get to school in the first place. The worst part is, I have tried to speak to staff from the student fees office and the office of the registrar to no avail. Not one person would call me back about the fee, and no one seemed to know who was responsible. I finally got the phone number for the registrar’s office, but at press time have still not received a phone call back.

I hope that when I walk across the stage in June, looking out at all of my peers as we celebrate our hard work and dedication, that our money has gone to something beneficial. Because we have already given so much to our future success, a final money grab on our way out the door is just plain disappointing.

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