Saturday, January 20, 2018

Open Space: Camosun needs to abolish its registration deposit

October 4, 2017 by Quinn Hiebert, contributing writer

As I pondered what bills I shouldn’t pay this month in order to pay Camosun’s $175 registration deposit—which is $1,000 for international students—I wondered why students have to pay a deposit at all. In terms of fees, it’s relatively small—some might even say unimportant. But to the hopeful and financially destitute student, Camosun might as well be asking for the moon—and they ask for it every semester.

But at least the second semester is easier to pay for, because the funding—loans, grants, bursaries, scholarships—has come through, and most students can sock away $175 for future use. Paying the deposit in the first semester is a different story, though.

Every generation is still taught that education is the key to success—but only some of us get a shot at it. And we’re still all told there’s hope: if we stopped being lazy with our minimum-wage jobs or within our disabilities—the things that keep us well below the poverty line and unable to pay the fee—and went to school to get a decent education, there might be a decent-paying career at the end of it all. At the very least, potential students can look forward to crippling debt, but—for a lucky few—there is a decent amount of funding available to make the leap out of poverty a real, hopeful possibility.

This story originally appeared in our October 4, 2017 issue.

Except, before one can even start the process, they must pay Camosun a registration deposit. For potential students already struggling financially, this fee becomes a mountain of monumental proportions; it’s somewhat overwhelming. They couldn’t have settled for a body part, or a first-born child?

The existence of the deposit makes logical sense, though. Camosun is asking for confirmation of a student’s dedication to enrol. Anyone can say they’re going to take classes, but not everyone follows through with their commitments. It isn’t that unreasonable to ask, and at some institutions it even goes up to the $500 price range.

And colleges aren’t complete jerks; they go so far as to give back the deposit by deducting it from the money owed to them later on. But there has to be a better way to secure student commitment, such as by demanding the fee if the student fails to start taking classes, or by changing the request to the aforementioned lunar object or first-born. At the very least, lower athe amount.

Camosun claims to be about its students, but the college is actively barring potential students from enrolment with this deposit. Instead of encouraging enrolment, Camosun ensures that—to the less fortunate—education will be forever out of reach. Classes quickly fill with non-program students, and the impoverished student often finds themselves waitlisted.

The status quo is that the fortunate—and wealthy—will always have access to higher education; it only becomes less accessible the closer you get to the less fortunate. And for centuries, the wealthy have been holding a decent education above the heads of the poor—along with the ridiculous notion that the poor couldn’t possibly want an education.

This student is hopeful that Camosun can understand the importance of education and abolish the registration deposit.

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