By Jerilyn Kotelniski, NAITSA VP External

1. No parking fees until after December 2020.

After many discussions, NAITSA is thrilled to say that students will not have to pay parking fees at NAIT until January 2021. If you need to park on campus for labs or need to come to campus to pick up books, you can simply park and run in! Don’t know where to park? Find out here. P.S. The NAIT bookstore is open again so shop online, pick up instore, or do curbside pick up.

2. No U-Pass for Fall 2020.

There will not be a U-Pass for Fall 2020, therefore, your fees will be reduced by $180 for that semester. NAITSA is working hard with transit authorities to hopefully come up with solutions for fall 2020 for students who need access to transit.

For Winter 2021, you will see it listed under fees as we hope that we will be able to adjust to having more students on campus, but more information will be needed to make that decision.

3. NAITSA & NAIT have come together to provide an $100,000 COVID-19 Student Relief Fund for NAIT students. Are you eligible?

This fund provides bursaries to students whose lives have been disrupted by the pandemic. The bursary will help students who are experiencing urgent financial burdens associated with travel, relocation, medical costs, and lost wages.

If you’re struggling financially, reach out to financial aid and see if the COVID-19 Emergency Student Bursary is available for your situation. Learn more here.

4. Masks will be mandatory on campus.

Get ready to wear a mask if you will be on campus this year. You will be expected to bring your own non-medical mask. If you forget a mask, you will be able to buy them at the NAIT bookstore in the X wing. Plus, there will be sanitizer and disinfecting wipes around campus. More details about re-entry at NAIT to come.

5. NAITSA Fees have been adjusted for the Fall 2020 semester.

One of my duties as VP External at NAITSA is to ensure students have value for what they pay for. We know affordability is essential and we’ve been working hard with NAIT to reduce student fees.

Here are some of the fees that you are NOT going to pay for Fall 2020:

– U-Pass fee (Savings of $180)
– Parking fees (Potential savings of up to $882 – if you purchased a parking pass)

Fees you can OPT OUT of (if you are eligible):

– Health & Dental Fee (Savings of $124)
– This fee is broken down into two parts: Medical ($59) and Dental ($65). You can opt out of this fee by submitting proof of your eligibility with comparable coverage, and your opt-out request, to NAITSA prior to the opt-out deadline of September 25th, 2020.

Fees you are paying (Mandatory fees):

– NAIT Recreation & Athletic Fee (Paying $35 per semester, down from $70)
– NAITSA Fee (Paying $8.90 per credit, down from $14.55 for in class credit students).
Your NAITSA fee has been adjusted for the Fall 2020 semester which means that it is the same maximum amount ($79.90) for every credit student, regardless of whether online or blended. What that works out to is $8.90 per credit, which is down from $14.55 per credit for full and part time in class students.
For previous credit students who took in class sessions, this is a potential savings of up to $51. For apprenticeship students, check the fees page on the website.

One of the questions I am hearing is, “what value does NAITSA provide for students?”
Here’s the short answer – A LOT!

NAITSA budgets annually to use this revenue to provide programs, events, club administration, services, publications, engagement, and advocacy for the benefit of its membership.

This means the fee goes to:
– support the Food Centre which provides hampers to students,
– the Nugget newspaper which keeps students informed,
– Peer Support which is important for student mental wellbeing,
– myWellness which is a mental health and wellness resource for students,
– administration of the health and dental benefit plan & U-Pass,
– campus clubs and its administration,
– advocating for open educational resources (OERs) to reduce student textbook costs,
– running the Nest Taphouse & Grill,
– planning and executing all the events for the year (with majority being virtual),
– as well as many other important aspects of student life.

Now, the only difference is that we’ve had to transition majority of our services to online so we can be available to our students. If you want to know more about what we do or programs we offer, visit our website at www.naitsa.ca.

“What are you doing as Vice President External at NAITSA?”

Specifically, in my role as VP External at NAITSA, I go to meetings with the municipal and provincial government as well as NAIT to advocate for student needs.

During these past few months, I’ve been in conversations about:

– advocating for affordability in post-secondary,
– negotiating the upcoming U-Pass contract,
– increasing OERs to reduce student textbook costs,
– advocating to transit authorities to hopefully come up with solutions for the fall,
– explaining the benefits of student employment (on campus and off campus),
– working with NAIT to make sure there is value in the online education being provided,
– ensuring there are mental health supports in place,
– and coming up with solutions to help all domestic and international students.

At NAITSA, one of our main concentrations is that the student voice is heard by decision makers and we are ensuring all students can succeed this upcoming year.

While our physical NAITSA office is closed, we are still working (virtually) and available to students.

As always, if you have any more questions or concerns, please reach out on the NAITSA website by using live chat or feel free to email us at asknaitsa@nait.ca!

Cheers,
Jerilyn Kotelniski
VP External, NAITSA
savpexternal@nait.ca