Breaking down faculty budgets

The Journal looks at how student leaders spend student money

Commerce Society President Matthew Price says ComSoc’s Core Fund fee goes towards items that will benefit one class of the Commerce program.
Commerce Society President Matthew Price says ComSoc’s Core Fund fee goes towards items that will benefit one class of the Commerce program.

Between tuition costs, increasing textbook prices and living expenses, university students are used to watching their bank accounts shrink in the name of higher learning. Amongst these large-scale fees, the annual faculty-specific student fee is one payment that often falls under students’ radars.

The cost and allocation of these funds varies throughout each of the University’s undergraduate faculty societies.

ComSoc has the highest total amount of student fees at $177.50 per student. The number includes one mandatory fee going towards the annual operating budget and two additional opt-outable fees.

The mandatory student fee is distributed between ComSoc’s five internal commissions and their respective committees, overhead costs and alumni affairs.

“There’s no formula towards how much each commission or committee receives. It depends on the committees’ plans for the years and other projected sources of revenue,” ComSoc President Matthew Price said.

Price said the first optional fee is a $40.00 “Core Fund” fee toward capital expenditures and items that will benefit one class of the Commerce program.

ComSoc’s $18,000 donation to the Engineering Society to help reopen Clark Hall Pub came from the Core Fund. This is in addition to the society’s recent $7,500 loan to aid in Queen’s Inter-Collegiate Business Competition’s (ICBC) debt.

The second opt-outable fee is a newly-introduced fee of $97.50 to support an addition to Goodes Hall.

Commerce students voted to pledge $1.2 million towards the initiative in a referendum held last March.

Price told the Journal via email ComSoc’s financial contributions to Clark Hall Pub, ICBC and the Goodes Hall extension demonstrates the society’s commitment to maintaining the quality of the Commerce program experience for its students.

“ComSoc Assembly votes to approve a budget for any given academic fiscal year, as well as for Core fund expenditures such as our contract with Clark Hall and loans such as ICBC,” he said. “... It’s about applying the theory we’ve learned throughout our time in the commerce program and taking calculated risks for the greater good of Commerce students.”

Engineering students on campus faced an almost $11 fee increase this year as a result of a faculty-wide referendum held in March.

“It passed with flying colours back then; it was 87 per cent in favour,” said EngSoc Vice-President (Operations) Marinos Tryphonas. “For the most part everyone was informed when this fee increase came to be, so we haven’t really gotten much different feedback.”

Tryphonas said EngSoc’s annual operating budget is divided between society affairs and the society’s services, which includes the Tea Room and Clark Hall Pub.

“The services have revenues and expenses but they take care of their own budget. The services alone have an operating budget of $1.2 million. That was the last time we calculated it, which was two years ago.”

Tryphonas said in addition to the mandatory student fee, engineering students have the option of making a Better Equipment Donation (BED) at a minimum cost of $60.

“It’s essentially just a donation towards the society. ... It’s associated with the different discipline clubs; they coordinate what kind of equipment they need. In general, they want to purchase using money from the BED fund. So it goes straight towards educational purposes for the faculty.”

The Nursing Science Society (NSS) has two different types of student fees, adjusted to suit both the four-year and the two-year accelerated streams.

NSS President Eveline Traxler said $35.50 from each student fee goes directly towards the NSS yearly operating budget, with an additional $20 going towards each student’s “pinning” ceremony upon graduation.

“We have each nursing student pay $80 through their student fees for their graduation. That’s why those in the two- year program have to pay $20 more each year, so that it’s fair,” she said.” Convocation and the pinning ceremony are two separate events so students are required to fundraise. Even with the $80 contribution from each student, the ceremony costs twice as much in addition to that.”

Traxler said the NSS does not carry over any money in its budget from the previous year.

“If we have excess funds from an event such as the fashion show or career fair and those funds can be of use to a community organization such as Almost Home, the GRO [Global Relief Outreach] foundation or Key Companions, we strive to help them in any way we can,” she said.

This year, the ASUS student fee is expected to bring in a total of $183,000 for the society.

“The student fees mostly pay for operational financing for all our charities, all of our commissions, basically all the committees that we have, which house over 1,000 volunteers. That’s where the student fees go towards,” said ASUS Vice-President Dominique Vanier.

This year marked an increase of the ASUS opt-outable fee to $8.57, up from $5 last year. This is to go towards “long term services ventures towards the society,” Vanier said.

“The board of directors will basically manage all that money. We have the ASUS Red Room, we’re hiring a manager to look into how that room can be used for. Basically, we have a lot of small services but we don’t have a lot of big services. We’re talking about Tea Room big services.”

Financing the faculties

Computing Students Association (COMPSA)

•Total number of students: 200
•Mandatory student fee: $6.40
•Overall operating budget: $6,580
•Percentage of budget garnered by student fees: five per cent

Concurrent Education Students
Association (CESA)

•Total number of students: 516
•Mandatory student fee: $10
•Overall operating budget: $5,160
•Percentage of budget garnered by student fees: 100 per cent

Physical and Health Education and Kinesiology Students Association (PHEKSA)

•Total amount of students: 400-500
•Mandatory student fee: $27
•Overall operating budget: approximately $9,000
•Percentage of budget garnered by student fees: 100 per cent

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.