Where does your tuition actually go?

Photo: Experience Beedie

By: Madeleine Chan, Staff Writer

Ever wonder what those categories on your goSFU Account Activity actually mean? Vague names in the tuition breakdown like “Undergrad Tuition” and “UG Student Services Fee” making you want to break down? With the upcoming tuition deadline, I thought I would help you out and break down, as far as I can discern, some of the more unclear charges that may be listed on your Account Activity and explain what part of SFU they help to support. Maybe this will somehow help to justify that unreasonably large number you see on your statement, or maybe it won’t, either way I hope it brings some clarity to where your money is going. 

 

Undergrad Tuition: $192.03 (per unit), $826.62 (per International unit) and Graduate Tuition: $1,908.76 full time per term (Regular program)

Tuition that is collected from students is not clearly divided amongst SFU’s expenses, rather considered part of the pool of “revenue.” In 2019, 36% of SFU’s revenue was tuition. This, according to SFU’s budget, goes in their Operating Fund, which is used for “academic program delivery and administration of the university.” This fund is then divided up between SFU’s expenses, which, in 2019, is represented here:

  • 62%, Salaries and employee benefits
  • 21%, Supplies and services
  • 12%, Amortization, interest, and utilities
  • 5%, Scholarships and bursaries

In other words, this is a loose percentage of where tuition money goes, but it is essentially divided up between these four areas. 

Additionally, according to the 2020/21 budget, 25% of the recent 4% increase for international students is going “directly to student bursaries and support programs.”

UG Student Activity Fee: $137.14 (Full-time)

This fee is collected by the SFSS and goes towards these bodies:

  • $42.74, SFSS Membership Fee, this contributes to the operation of the SFSS as a whole, including the operation of Out On Campus (OOC) and the Women’s Centre
  • $5.00, Student Society Building Fund/Capital Levy
  • $0.25, SFSS Food Bank Program, provides students in a “state of need” with $25 food certificates up to three times a semester
  • $0.75, Accessibility Fund
  • $60.00, Build SFU Levy: this is what pays for the SUB and stadium
  • $3.00, Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (SFPIRG): this is a student-led and funded group on campus that advocates for social and environmental justice.
  • $4.90, Peak Publication Society (that’s us!): The Peak is SFU’s student-run newspaper that publishes a weekly paper for the student population.
  • $3.75, CJSF (Campus Community Radio Society): this is SFU’s non-commercial radio station that strives to be “an alternative to mainstream media.”
  • $2.50, World University Service of Canada (WUSC): this is a committee that runs the student refugee program at SFU, which sponsors students whose education has been “interrupted by conflict and persecution.”
  • $0.75, First Nations Student Association (FNSA): SFU’s “independent student-run organization for all self-identified Aboriginal, First NAtions, Inuit, Métis, and Status/Non-status students.”
  • $3.50, Embark Sustainability Society (ESS): a group on campus that works towards a sustainable future by supporting students through “grant, advocacy, and student-designed programming.”

Graduate Student Activity Fee: $70.44 (Full-time)

This fee is collected by the Graduate Student Society (GSS) and goes towards these bodies:

  • $54.29, GSS membership fee
  • $4.90, Peak Publication Society (that’s us!)
  • $3.00, Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (SFPIRG
  • $3.75, CJSF (Campus Community Radio Society)
  • $2.50, World University Service of Canada (WUSC)
  • $0.75, First Nations Student Association (FNSA)
  • $3.50, Embark Sustainability Society (ESS)

UG + Grad Student Services Fee: $47.10 (Full and part time)

A fee that goes towards all of SFU’s student services like academic advising, the Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL), and International Services for Students (ISS) — which are now available remotely. 

UG + Grad Rec & Athletic Fee: $78.47 (full-time), $39.24 (Part-time)

Not applicable for this semester, but this money would usually go towards your mandatory membership for the services of SFU Recreation and your membership to either the facilities of the Burnaby Campus, or select facilities in the City of Surrey or Vancouver.

U-Pass BC Fee Assessment: $170.00 (As of Fall 2020)

Not applicable for this semester, but this fee usually goes towards the four-month, universal transit pass that is subsidized by the student body and organized by TransLink and the Province of British Columbia.

UG Studentcare Health and Dental Insurance: $197.52 (Basic), $254.36 (Enhanced)

A mandatory once-per-year fee (if you don’t have coverage elsewhere) that goes towards the SFSS Studentcare Health and Dental insurance plan.

  • 62.75 Basic Health Coverage, covers prescription drugs, vaccinations, vision, travel, and a variety of health professionals up to a certain percent or dollar amount
  • 86.18, Enhanced Health coverage, covers up to two times more than basic
  • 134.77, Basic Dental Coverage, covers max of $600 annually
  • 168.18, Enhanced Dental Coverage, covers up to 1.2 times more than basic

Graduate Extended Health and Dental Plan: $460.48 (Full and part time)

A mandatory once-per-year fee (if you don’t have coverage elsewhere) that goes towards the GSS Studentcare Benefit Plan.

  • $194.42, Health Plan, covers prescription drugs, vaccinations, vision, travel, and a variety of health professionals up to a certain percent or dollar amount
  • $266.06, Dental Plan, covers up to $700 annually and 100% of basic, preventative, and wisdom teeth services

CDE Materials Fee: $40.00 (per class)

This supplementary fee for all Distance Education courses run by the Centre for Online and Distance Education (CODE) and cover their costs concerning the “overall production, assembly, and delivery of print-based and online materials and services” with examples like copyright, printing, and postage.

*These costs and applications are accurate as of the Summer 2020 term

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