by Barbara Black
Concordia is changing the way graduate students pay their tuition fees, after consultation with the Graduate Students Association.
The change will see a flat rate imposed term by term for degree programs, instead of for courses taken. The current system led to complaints over the years that the uneven, unpredictable payments schedule caused financial hardship to many students.
Now, students will pay a flat rate of slightly more than $400 for each term, plus regular administrative fees. For a 45-credit Master's degree, this works out to six terms; for a 60-credit Master's, eight terms; and correspondingly more for a 90-credit PhD. For Certificate and Diploma students, tuition fees will be charged on a per-credit basis; this eliminates the term fee normally charged in the summer, when no courses are offered.
"This is not an increase in fees," said Associate Dean of Graduate Studies Jim Jans. "In fact, in a few cases, returning students are likely to save about $10. This really brings us into line with other Canadian universities." McGill University has just brought in a similar change.
The new fee structure is also an incentive to complete graduate degrees, diplomas and certificates within a reasonable time. After the prescribed terms are paid for, students who have not completed their studies will have to pay a $400 continuation fee. Beyond a certain length of time, they must apply for an extension, and pay as much as $600 per term until they complete their program.
The project to reorganize the fee structure was undertaken with a broadly based committee. Kathy Hedrich, Manager of Student Accounts, ran through many student records using both the current and the proposed system, to ensure that it will be as fair as possible. The system goes into effect for new students on May 1.