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School of hard knocks

Ontario’s Ivory Tower is scrambling to find ways to ride out therecession, from charging full-time fees to part-time students, tophasing out small but pricey fields of study.

Ontario’s Ivory Tower is scrambling to find ways to ride out the recession, from charging full-time fees to part-time students, to phasing out small but pricey fields of study.

The University of Toronto is considering the unusual step of charging arts and science students full-time fees even if they take as few as three courses — a move that could generate $10 million but already has students howling.

The University of Guelph has drawn fire over a plan to scrap eight “majors” (fields of study) that drew fewer than 40 students over four years.

The move will save about $9 million in administrative costs and has already sparked at least one Facebook protest site.

At the U of T, one student leader called the new flat rate a “stealth tuition hike” and said students are banding together to fight it. Colum Grove-White, president of the Arts and Science Students’ Union, questioned any jump in tuition during a recession, noting many students work while studying.

“It disadvantages these students the most. They are the most vulnerable during an economic recession,” he said.

Major cost
Serge Desmarais, Guelph’s assistant vice-president academic, said it costs about $100,000 in administration to offer a major, from faculty advisers who track students’ programs to offering a set range of courses.

 
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