University takes away credit card option, leaving students high and dry

Students looking to pay off their tuition fees this semester using a credit card were out of luck.  As the result of a new policy adopted by Capilano University over the summer, credit cards are no longer accepted as a form of payment on domestic tuition fees.

Capilano, alongside other post-secondary institutions like Kwantlen Polytechnic University, has ceased to accept credit for the Fall 2010 semester. According to the university’s director of finance, Mike Proud, this change will continue to take effect in all future semesters. The change only affects domestic tuition and course-related registration fees.

Proud states that this is “definitely not discrimination towards domestic students [over international students] – it is merely cost saving on the public side versus the costs that are paid for on the cost recovery side.”

Most students found out about the change in payment options through a mass email the university sent out on July 14, including Scott Young, one of many Capilano students to be affected by this change in policy. Once he found out about the ban on credit cards halfway through the summer, he had to work to ensure that he had enough money in his bank account.
“It made more of an impact on my summer way of life,” says Young, “I think when it comes to breaking the bad news like this, all you can do is tell students as early as possible and give them lots of time to prepare for it.”

According to the university’s website, credit card fees are a significant expense to Capilano  University, and by reducing theses costs, “more resources will be available to fund the continued delivery of quality student education and services.” Tuition made up 31 per cent of university revenues in the past year, with 23 per cent being from domestic tuition fees, and 8 per cent from international tuition fees.
Current payment options include online banking, Travelex bank to bank transfer, wire transfers, and payment via the cashier's office.  Unfortunately, students whose student loans do not cover the cost of their entire tuition are limited to using credit card cheques or obtaining a cash advance, although Proud acknowledges that this is “certainly unpalatable.”

“I feel strongly against [the ban],” says Young. “Credit cards have long been an acceptable method of payment in our society; it is how students like me can afford things that cost more than my entire savings.” He says that having to have $2000 available for tuition is difficult, which is why many students use a credit card and divide the large sum into periodical payments that are “slightly easier to assume.”
Kwantlen is going through a similar process at their institution. The Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) has been taking a stance opposing the credit card ban. Bradley Head, the KSA’s Director of Academic Affairs, says that they have been explaining the situation to their students and meeting with their University to discuss it. In addition, the KSA is currently looking into filing a lawsuit against Kwantlen Polytechnic University since they believe that the university is infringing upon both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the BC Human Rights Code by discriminating against domestic students based on their “place of origin”.

The CSU currently retains no official position on the issue of the credit card ban.

“We haven’t had a consensus on the board about our position on the credit card [issue], says Gurpreet Kambo, Chairperson for the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU). “We are trying to work with the university, and opposing [the issue] isn’t necessarily the best way to work with administration.”  

According to Kambo, “a lot of the advocacy occurs behind the scenes.” The CSU has student representatives from the Board of Governors and the Senate who sit on its Executive, as well as a University Relations committee. These bodies work with the University to represent students.
Although students may not find the banning of credit cards ideal, the University says that it would rather see its students’ funds invested in the University’s services rather than wasted on credit card companies. 

//Mercedes Sargent

Enjoy it? Share this on Facebook


© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: