What are all these student fees and where do they go?

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If you are anything like most university students, you have, at one point, checked your bank account and were shocked at the number before you, left grumbling to yourself “where did it all go?” It happens to the best of us, and the answer usually lies somewhere between excessive iced coffees and heavy textbooks.

The university must be more money-savvy than us students are, right? In hopes of solving the mystery of Student Fees, we’ve decided to ask the university that same “where did it all go” question, and here is what we’ve found:

A breakdown of Student Fees found on the UNB Website (University of New Brunswick/Website)

Mandatory Fees

To find out what “mandatory fees” meant, we visited the Director of Financial and Administrative Services, Heather Finkle, who clarified that these fees are a collection of services on campus not included in tuition costs, which pay for the courses you take.  

Mandatory fees can be used for facilities’ improvement, repairs, and servicing infrastructure. There is a technology fee included to offset the costs of updating or purchasing technological resources, such as computer stations, web kiosks, digital projectors, and wireless internet support.

It also includes a student success component, which funds student-centred initiatives like learning accessibility, financial aid, and academic coaching.


The SRC is involved in countless projects on campus, but to figure out how the money is allocated, we met with the President of the SRC, Patrick Hickey.

Hickey highlighted some of the larger portions of the budget, including the $5 per student that goes to the Green Society, which is responsible for all plants on campus. $5 per student also goes to the World University Service of Canada (WUSK), which aims to help reduce fees for international students.

The SRC social budget funds social events like First-Class Bash. (Julia Kaine/The Baron)

Sections of the SRC budget include funding the university’s clubs and societies, the SafeRide program, orientation week, and the social budget. The social budget includes social projects such as First-Class Bash and our on-campus bar Colonel Tuckers.

Hickey encourages anyone who would like to learn more about SRC funding to visit https://www.unbsrc.ca/finances for details. 

Student Health and Dental Fees

These fees are the only university costs you can opt-out of, potentially saving a total of $285 per year. However, paying these two fees do have their benefits, as these plans cover a certain amount of prescriptions, basic dental, teeth extractions, eye exams, prescription lenses or frames, and paramedical practitioners.

There are different plans based on a student’s specific needs. If you are unsure of what you are covered for, visit www.wespeakstudent.com with your student number handy to view the three flex plans available.


For anyone who might be missing out, the CRSJ is the campus-based community radio station. We spoke with the station manager and program director, Julia Rogers, to find out what this $25 fee covers.

CRSJ is proudly partnered with on-campus programs, such as the Lorenzo Society, Varsity athletics, and the nursing department. (Lorenzo Society/Website)

Rogers explained that “the fee gives students an automatic membership and access to the station. They are also able to come in and host radio programs, and learn how to use audio editing software”.

Baron Fee

Given that you have made it this far through the article, we assume that you know what the Baron is, although you may not be sure why you’re giving your money to us. The Baron uses the funding we receive through your fees to employ our staff made up entirely of UNBSJ students.

We offer paid positions for writers, editors, and photographers, but even if you are not on the staff, you can still inquire about submitting an article to our editor-in-chief by emailing editor@thebaron.ca.

International Differences

Being the largest fee in the budget (besides tuition itself), you may be wondering, “what is a differential fee” and “why is it necessary”? This answer involved some research after an operating grant was mentioned by the Financial Services department.

Residence fees for international students tack on approximately six-thousand dollars to their university fees. (Amelia Bailey/The Baron)

Essentially, Canadian universities receive operating grants from the federal government to help offset the cost of tuition (which is why Canadian post-secondary costs less than American). Only Canadian students are eligible for this grant, and so the “differential fee” is the cost of tuition that is ineligible to be covered by the federal grant.

UNBSJ loves its international students just the same as its local students, which is is why we collect money for WUSK. The university also provides scholarships and grants to aid in the financial tole of these costs.

If you wish to know more about UNB Finances and the resources available, there is more information available on the UNB website under the “Money Matters” section. Once there, you will find excellent tools for budgeting, tracking payments, and details on scholarships and financial aid.

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.