All it takes is all of us
You probably chose Western for lots of reasons.
The program you’re in, the beautiful campus, the plentiful geese population. But maybe the most important reason is that it fulfilled the dream that you’ve always had of University.
A place where you could make memories that would last a lifetime.
A place where you’d study something you’re really passionate about.
A place where you’d meet your best friend, business or life partner.
A place where you’d learn that a greasy breakfast really is the best hangover cure.
But that experience, that dream, those memories - they’re at risk.
The entire student experience is at risk.
This fall Western students will make one of the most important decisions in student life history. And you have an opportunity to be a part of that decision.
When you pay your tuition, opt-in.
Opt in to:
Government Advocacy • Student Life • Peer Programs • Clubs Administration • Orientation • Student Initiative Grants • Gazette • Radio Western • The Student Refugee Program • Daycare • Marching Band • Community Legal Services • Faculty and Affiliate Councils
Let’s end this nightmare before it begins. We can save the student experience. Don’t let people tell you that opting out won’t change anything. It will. And your future at Western won’t be the same unless you opt-in. Because the experiences we make on campus together, are forever.
all it takes
is all of us
In January 2019, the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) announced reforms to postsecondary education which included changes to post-secondary ancillary fees regulations. Effective September 2019, the Student Choice Initiative requires institutions to classify ancillary fees as essential (mandatory) or non-essential (optional), as per Ministry guidelines. The policy requires that students be given the option to opt-out of paying fees that are deemed non-essential by the Ministry.
There are a number of valuable programs and services that are classified as optional under the Student Choice Initiative, many of which are solely funded by student ancillary fees. We believe these programs and services play a vital role in providing the best student experience for all undergraduate students at Western. You may not directly benefit from the programs and services that these fees provide, but we encourage you to think about the impact that your decision will have on your peers at Western and the overall student experience on our campus.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What happens if I opt-out?
Each fee description outlines the consequences of opting out. Some fees are specifically excludable, meaning if you choose to opt-out, you may have limited or no access to certain events, programs, or services. For example, if you opt out of the Clubs Administration fee, you cannot join any of the over 200 clubs at Western. Please carefully read the fee descriptions before you decide whether to opt-out.
Do I have to do anything to opt-in to fees?
No, you are opted in to all fees by default. If you want to remain opted in, you don’t have to take any action.
Can I opt back in after I've opted out?
Yes, it is possible to opt back in to fees if you have accidentally opted out or change your mind. The process to opt back in is not yet open, but will be available by September. You will need to contact the appropriate organization/student union to opt-in manually. You will be able to opt back in to optional USC fees online in the coming weeks; we will add the link to this FAQ when it is ready. Please note, an additional service fee will be charged for opting back in to fees so please make your choices carefully.
How do you decide if a fee is mandatory or optional?
The USC nor Western University decide the classification of fees as mandatory or optional. The classification of fees is determined by the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities. We share the concerns of many students that critical services like Accessibility and Peer Programs are deemed non-essential by the government. We encourage students to reach out to their MPP to share these concerns and advocate for changes to the mandate.
When is the deadline to opt-out?
The opt-out deadline for the Orientation Week fee is August 15th for all campuses. For all other fees, the opt-out deadline varies by campus. Please contact your respective Registrar’s Office for more information.
Do all of these fees go to the USC?
No, there are a number of different optional ancillary fees that fund different programs, services, and organizations around campus. Your ancillary fee bill will differ based on your year of study, student status, and campus of enrollment. In fact, only five optional fees directly fund the USC, totalling just $40.25. Most fees are transferred to other student councils on campus, on-campus media outlets, student-led initiatives, and the Orientation program.
How do I opt-out?
The opt out process is different on each campus. Main Campus students can opt out on Student Centre. Affiliate campus students should contact your respective registrar’s office for more information.
How do I opt-out of the USC Health and Dental Plans?
The USC Health and Dental Plan opt-out portal is housed on www.studentbenefits.ca, consistent with past years. Please note, to opt-out of the Health Plan, you must prove you have pre-existing coverage.
The following fees have been classified as optional (non-essential) as per the Ontario government guidelines.
You can help support students with children by providing them with safe, convenient, and accessible childcare on campus. This helps remove barriers to education, enabling more students to attend university. If you opt-out, you will reduce the funding available to support students with children through this program.
Student Refugee Program
You can support student refugees attending Western University in a safe and supportive environment in Canada. This unique program includes academic supports to help with both the resettlement and university experience. If you opt-out, you will reduce the funding available to student refugees through this program.
You can access peer programs that are run by students, for students and that address gaps in support services on campus. We support each student and their unique needs with a diverse set of services which embraces and advocates with a variety of diverse ethnocultural, indigenous, LGBTQ2+, and other marginalized student communities. If you opt-out, you will limit the USC's ability to provide programming and support services for marginalized students on campus.
Community Legal Services
You can help provide free legal advice and representation to Western students and members of the London community through Community Legal Services. Legal services are funded by Western's University Students' Council, Western's Faculty of Law, the Fanshawe Student Union, Legal Aid Ontario, and the Law Foundation of Ontario. If you opt-out, you will reduce the funding available to support recipients of free Community Legal Services through this program.
Faculty and Affiliate Councils
You can experience exciting events and leadership opportunities with people in your faculty, or affiliate university-college (Huron, Brescia, Kings) by supporting Faculty and Affiliate Councils. These councils host concerts, guest speakers, academic conferences, and more. They also advocate for student needs at a faculty and/or affiliate university-college level. If you choose to opt-out, you will reduce the funding available for your academic faculty or affiliate university-college.
Student Initiative Grants
You can apply for grants to run innovative programs, attend conferences and create club events with and for other students. The USC administers the application process and has resources to help you run events. If you opt-out, you will limit the USC’s ability to provide grants that support student activities.
Your voice is heard by Western administration and all levels of government through the USC. The USC advocates for increased supports for students, a safe campus community, and affordable and accessible tuition. Recent advocacy wins include the approval of permanent Fall Reading Week, introduction of a revised medical note policy, allowance of preferred first names on university documents, investment of improved lighting on campus, implementation of LTC express bus routes, and more. If you opt-out, you will limit the USC's ability to advocate on your behalf and represent your interests to the university and at each level of government on issues like transit, financial aid, academic policies, and mental health supports.
You can support the tradition and excellence of the Western Marching Band! Established in 1937, they perform at athletic games, parades and festivals and are one of the largest marching bands in Canada. If you opt-out, you will limit the Marching Band's ability to perform at events and promote school spirit at Western.
You can experience diverse and exciting programming that welcomes you to Western, helps you meet fellow first-year students, and facilitates your smooth introduction to campus life. Our amazing orientation leaders (sophs) provide mentorship and support to help you feel comfortable on campus and to create a strong campus community. Sophs lead activities and education sessions during Orientation Week and act as a resource for you throughout first year by connecting you to support and information on campus. If you opt-out, you cannot participate in Orientation Week.
You can join any of the almost 200 clubs on campus that offer events, academic support, social networking, and leadership opportunities through the USC's Clubs System. This fee supports the infrastructure of the system. The easiest way to get involved in clubs is to visit Clubs week in September and talk to our diverse mix of clubs about what they do. If you opt-out, you cannot join clubs at Western.
You can attend any of the more than 4,000 USC events that take place every year like PurpleFest, BeerFest, Theatre Western performances, Rick's Wednesdays, concerts, conferences and speaker series. All of these events are part of the vibrant, inclusive student experience made possible through this fee, by the USC. If you opt-out, you may be charged higher ticket prices or have limited access to USC events.
Since 1906, the Gazette has covered what matters to students. As Western's largest student media outlet, we need your help to keep campus informed and entertained. If you opt-out, the Gazette's coverage and training for students will be weakened.
You can listen to radio content created by Western students and community members through Radio Western, unique in London for its ability to highlight local news and culture. You can also participate in their volunteer training programs and learn more about marketing and promotions, conducting interviews, writing and airing news reports, sports broadcasting, and radio production. If you opt-out, you will limit Radio Western's ability to cover campus news and provide professional development opportunities in radio to all undergraduate students.
Student Bursary Fund
This fee goes to support needs-based bursaries for students who are or previously were OSAP eligible. Opting out of this fee will reduce the funding available to students requiring needs based funding.
The following fees have been classified as mandatory (essential) as per the Ontario government guidelines.
You can access all spaces operated by the USC: the Mustang Lounge, the Spoke, the Wave, Western Film, and other space in the University Community Centre. Student Building fees are considered essential under the Student Choice Initiative.
You can access academic support in a safe and confidential environment where you can discuss University-related problems or concerns through the Ombudsperson. The USC also provides academic support by advocating to the University on student priorities, running the USC Student Appeals Centre and supporting career development opportunities, including job fairs. Academic Support is considered essential under the Student Choice Initiative.
You have access to a 12-month London Transit Bus Pass if you are a full-time undergraduate student at Western. This pass is valid for free unlimited rides, for all stop locations and all hours of operation, seven days a week (including holidays). Transit is considered essential under the Student Choice Initiative.
Health and Wellness
You can access additional health and wellness services and support with the USC's Health Promotions team and the Peer Support Centre, which helps support and educate students on issues involving mental health, social health, substance abuse, campus safety, and sexual violence prevention. These programs also help train campus leaders to assist students in finding the resources they need to support their health and wellness. Health and counselling support is considered essential under the student choice initiative.
Safe Transit Program
You can take the late-night USC shuttle on the weekends and during exams after London Transit Bus services stop to help you get home safely. All full-time and part-time students are eligible to use the shuttle service with their valid Western Student ID. The goal of the safe transit program is to get students home safely after bus service stops at midnight. This fee is mandatory.
You are required to enrol in the health plan through the USC, unless you have existing medical coverage. The plan is specifically designed to supplement provincial health care and meet students’ health care needs, so you can focus on being a student and leave the stress of health coverage to us. The plan covers a range of health care needs, including health care practitioners and prescription drugs. Full details can be found at www.studentbenefits.ca. Unless you have pre-existing health coverage, this fee is considered essential under the Student Choice Initiative.
You can enjoy the USC's dental plan, specifically designed to supplement provincial health care and meet students' dental care needs. The USC administers the plan so you can focus on being a student and leave the stress of dental coverage to us. If you opt-out of this fee, you will not receive USC Dental Coverage.
Student Recreation Centre Fund
This fee was previously approved through a student referendum to contribute towards the capital and operating costs of the Western Student Recreation Centre.
*You can opt-out of this fee if you have comparable coverage at www.studentbenefits.ca.
**You can opt-out of this fee via the www.studentbenefits.ca website.