Nickel and diming the university

Student pays for tuition with cart full of coins

Now, this is how to protest!

On Monday, a student paid his $1,037 tuition in nickels and dimes. Teale Phelps Bondaroff wheeled a cart filled with 90kg of coin into the University of Calgary student accounts office to protest a recent change to payment policy.

Students at the University of Calgary and University of Alberta are unhappy with recent decisions by their respective universities to no longer allow tuition payments by credit card.

AM 770 CHQR radio reported, “Bondaroff believes the university has been nickel and diming students and thought it was about time they get the same in return.”

The universities cite administrative costs on credit cards transactions for their decision. Both universities have pledged to use the savings from credit card payments for scholarships and bursaries.

To their credit, they have not cited high interest on credit cards and concerns about student debt as a reason. If they did, they would be hypocrites. Like most Canadian universities, they rip students off by charging credit card levels of interest. The interest rate on outstanding tuition payments at the University of Alberta is 18 per cent. The University of Calgary, only charges 12 per cent on outstanding fees.

Neither school offers Air Miles or other perks to go with their high interest rates.

Update: University of Calgary told The Calgary Herald they are concerned about students using high-interest credit cards to pay tuition.