The Maritime Province’s Higher Education Commission (MPHEC), the official source for reporting all university fees across the Maritimes made an error when publishing data on King’s Student Union (KSU) fees.
The University of King’s College’s student union fees were reported as being $153 higher than they actually are.
The $153 fee was misreported is the cost of the U-Pass, the university bus pass available to all King’s and Dalhousie students.
Misclassification of U-Pass
Bonnie Sands, the bursar at King’s, consulted with Student Accounts Officer, Sharlene Salter, about the error before responding in an email to the Dalhousie Gazette.
“In previous years, the U-Pass was included under student association fees (as per the direction provided by MPHEC) and is now classified under other fees. The MPHEC indicated that they assumed the U-Pass program was administered by the student union,” Sands said.
“The MPHEC was surprised to learn this year that this assumption was incorrect as the U-Pass program is administered by the university and not the union,” Sands said. “The overall total fee amount for King’s is correct. It’s the category the bus pass is reported in that has changed this year.”
Kerri Lawrence, financial vice president of the KSU doesn’t know how this error occurred.
“To my knowledge, we’ve never provided the bus pass. So, it’s quite confusing to me that it ended up there in the first place.”
This misclassification gave the appearance that King’s Student Union fees were more expensive than they are.
“It’s concerning to me because when people look at the MPHEC they are looking at it to see what the tuition is across universities. Having a discrepancy of over $100 between what we actually charge as the student union and what people are seeing that we are charging is not good,” Lawrence said.
Effects on Students
Kaylee Downey, a second-year student at King’s thinks the fees are “a little expensive.”
“Even without the student union fees, my tuition is $1000 more than it was last year, which is confusing because all my classes this year are identical. The last thing we need is more expensive union fees on top of everything.”
The MPHEC incorrectly reported KSU fees as $486 for the 2022-2023 school year, higher than any other university in the Maritimes.
Lawrence is afraid the misreporting of these high fees will reflect poorly on the union.
“King’s is expensive and the misreporting of this reflects less on the school as a whole on its tuition and fees, and more on the union as charging exorbitant fees in comparison to other universities,” she said.
This mistake was corrected when the MPHEC’s undergraduate ancillary fee table was republished on Wednesday, Sept. 6.
Now the data correctly reflects the actual cost of KSU fees as $333.
Lisa O’Connell, director of research and data analysis at the MPHEC, gave a statement about the misreported union fees in an email to the Dal Gazette.
“Some student association fees can include bus passes, student newspaper, radio fees and other fees administered by the student union. The King’s Student Union and university administration confirmed last week that bus passes were not administered by the KSU and therefore these fees were moved to the “other” column in the table published on Wednesday.”
The error was corrected and the MPHEC’s data now reflects the actual cost of KSU fees.