UMSU approves motion supporting extending international students’ fee payment deadline

Chris Otisi, international student representative.

The University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) approved a motion to advocate for extending the deadline for tuition fee payments for international students at its regular meeting Sept. 28.

UMSU will pressure university administration to extend the fee payments period until after the course change deadline.

The motion was submitted by Chris Otisi, the international students’ representative, at UMSU’s previous meeting on Sept. 14.

Speaking on behalf of Otisi – who was not at the Sept. 28 meeting – Cristina Aliu, UMSU representative for the Arts Student Body Council, told council that several problems may arise when international students attempt to pay their tuition fees.

“Sending so much money from a different country is a confusing process,” she said.

Aliu said that processing international banking transactions is a lengthy procedure and many students awaiting pay checks, loans, or scholarships to pay off their tuition fees may have a hard time meeting the regular deadline. As a result, international students may be issued late fees and have holds placed on their accounts.

This, Aliu added, tends to be particularly difficult for first year students who may be unfamiliar with international banking transactions and the online system for tuition payments.

Aliu also noted that at times, payment delays may be the result of national holidays or long weekends observed in international students’ home countries.

Otisi said that one of the promises made during his campaign for UMSU’s international students’ representative was addressing this issue.

“I think it is important for UMSU to advocate for this cause because it is a beneficial aspect, economically, for international students,” he said.

“With our platform and reach, we can hopefully achieve this.”

Otisi said an extension would help international students “acquire funds on time, pay tuition on time, and participate as a University of Manitoba student without restrictions” or holds.

“The next step from here is to continue to advocate for international students, ensuring this motion to extend tuition deadline for international students is achieved,” said Otisi. “From here on, patience and consistency are key factors.”

Otisi noted that another reason tuition payments should be extended for international students is because they are subject to higher tuition fees than their domestic colleagues.

The estimated tuition for a full-time, first year University 1 student is $4,400 for the fall and winter terms. International students are charged nearly 3 times that amount, at $14,800.

UMSU president Tanjit Nagra said that the extension for the tuition deadline for international students is “a need coming directly from our international students,” and one which the UMSU executive will be bringing to the university administration.