By Jayadeep Arora, Nathan Charbonneau and Katie Newman

On the cusp of significant changes to tuition and ancillary fee guidelines, a greater number of Ryerson students feel they aren’t getting their money’s worth as compared to previous years, according to a new poll conducted at the university.

The survey, conducted by Ryerson journalism students, shows a dramatic drop in student satisfaction when it comes to value for the tuition they pay.

Between March 1 and 4, participants were asked to respond to whether they felt they were getting their money’s worth for their tuition.

Only 33 per cent of students said they agree or strongly agree.

The number is a far cry from previous years. Both 2017 and 2018 saw an average of 57 per cent when asked the same question.

Ryerson civil engineering student Giorgio Christakos said he feels tuition is too high, especially since he has to pay for other school-related materials on top of everything else.

“I pay around $12,000 for tuition and that covers nothing. That’s six classes a year, no books. I have to pay extra for all my lab materials, lab manuals, and this and that,” said Christakos. “I see other programs, the most expensive one I’ve seen is $9,000. So why am I paying so much?”

This year’s survey results. (Julia Nowicki/Ryersonian)

According to Ryerson’s website, for the 2018-19 school year, domestic undergraduate students paid between $7,638.69 and $12,240.58 depending on their program and year. International students paid significantly higher amounts – from $25,926.10 to $29,218.75.

Some students who were interviewed after answering the poll questions said that among their concerns are that they don’t know how tuition money is spent and they see some classes as a “waste of time.”

Alexia Boudreau, a first-year social work student, said: “I don’t feel that I’m getting my money’s worth for tuition. There are a number of things that are being paid for with this money that have no value to me or my time at Ryerson.”

“It just says on my RAMSS website, ‘this is how much you owe. Pay it here,'” said Adam Peddle, a third-year media production student. “I know it goes up as my course load goes up, but where is it going and how is it being spent?”

“There are some elective classes that I just feel like it’s a waste of time and I’m not learning anything,” added Peddle. “I’d love to be learning. But, unfortunately, there are some professors and the way the curriculum works that it’s not beneficial.”

Leah Chan, a fashion communication student, echoed that concern. “A lot of the liberals I take don’t have to do with my program…I want to pay for something that’s more catered to me,” she said.

Ruth Urbinar, a second-year early childhood education student, said: “We’re only here for 14 weeks in total. The other 14 weeks we’re in placement. We should be learning more and getting more out of it, as opposed to paying just to go to placement.”

Among students who said they feel tuition is reasonable, some said it is up to the individuals to take advantage of what the school has to offer.

A radio and television arts student, Will Pennington, said he is OK paying fees because he uses the facilities, like the gym, offered by the school.

“There are so many facilities at Ryerson, it’s really just up to the individual to get their money’s worth,” he said. “There are really so many things to do, like use the gyms and other services. It’s the responsibility of the students to get out there and take advantage of it all.”

At 43 per cent, students in the Faculty of Communication and Design were the most likely to agree or strongly agree that they are getting their money’s worth.

The comparable numbers for other faculties were: Community Services, 42 per cent; Science, 37 per cent; Engineering and Architectural Science, 37 per cent; Ted Rogers School of Management, 35 per cent; Arts, 32 per cent.

First-year School of Journalism students surveyed 1,179 Ryerson students in person and online between March 1 and 4, 2019. Results for the full sample have a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin could be larger for subgroups.

This is a joint byline. Ryersonian staff are responsible for the news website edited and produced by final-year undergraduate and graduate journalism students at Ryerson University. It features all the content from the weekly campus newspaper, The Ryersonian, and distributes news and online multimedia, including video newscasts from RyersonianTV. Ryersonian.ca also provides videos, images, and other interactive material in partnership with the School of Journalism.

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