All full-time students at the University of Guelph-Humber pay $212.24 each year to a technology fee, according to the university website, but exactly what that fee goes towards is a mystery.

Over the span of two months, GH360 has contacted numerous faculty and departments for information regarding the fee.

As of April 12, 2019 all of the people in question either weren’t sure what the money went towards, declined an interview or ignored attempts to talk to the publication.

A picture taken from the university website which shows the fee breakdown per semester. The technology fee is highlighted in yellow.

A request to speak with the department of student services was referred to finance and administration department as student services is “not the budget holder for the technology fee.”

The finance and administration department declined to be interviewed and directed GH360 to the public relations and communications office.

So far, the office has not responded to numerous requests for an interview to discuss the fee.

What is clear, is that students don’t seem to know where this money is going.

GH360 conducted a poll to see if students knew they were paying over $200 a year for a technology fee. Out of 100 students, 88 had no idea this was a fee they paid and many were shocked by the price.

The remaining 12 students had noticed the fee on the website tuition page, but do not know how the money is spent.

Several students assumed that the fee covered printing costs, as each student is given $25 a year on their account for the school printers. However, this does not account for the other $187.24.

First year psychology student Casiah Cagan believes the university should be more transparent.

“I would like to know where money is going to, I don’t want to be blindly paying,” Cagan said. “Especially because I’m a student and I’m already not able to pay this comfortably so why am I paying money for something that nobody knows where it’s going?”

With provincially-mandated changes coming next year to student fees, there is uncertainty whether the technology charge will even be in place next year.

Manager of Public Relations and Communications for Guelph-Humber, Elissa Schmidt, said in a said in email statement, “The University of Guelph-Humber is working closely with its partners at the University of Guelph and Humber ITAL (Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning) in respect to the recent government announcement regarding post-secondary education tuition cuts and changes to student fees. More information regarding these changes will be communicated in the coming weeks.”

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Tanya Blazina, explained that the optional student fees coming into effect next year will create transparency for students.

“We want to ensure a process of transparency and choice for Ontario’s postsecondary students so that they can make informed financial decisions about their post-secondary education and have the ability to save money on initiatives or services they do not use or support,” Blazina said in an email statement. “This would include an explanation of what the technology fee includes.”