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Students asked to weigh in on new fees

When students head to the polls on Friday to cast their votes for executive council, they’ll also be asked to make an important decision regarding a new mandatory non-instructional fee (MNIF) proposed by NAIT.

Students will be asked to vote “yes” or “no” on whether the executive council should approve the “Institutional Technology Fee.” Starting in the 2022/2023 academic year, the fee would cost $44 for the fall and winter semesters, $22 for the spring/summer semester and $3.66 per week for apprentice students.

The fee contains two elements. The larger portion would go towards maintaining access for a bundle of learning support technologies that students currently have access to for free. Without the fee, students will no longer have free subscriptions to Grammarly, LinkedIn Learning, Mindtools, Read & Write, Wolfram Alpha and Nimbus Learning. The rest of the fee would go towards enhancing and improving technology in classrooms.

NAIT proposed the fee after advising NAITSA that “[NAIT] could not afford to continue with these services without the MNIF,” said Jason Roth, NAITSA’s advocacy director. Under Alberta law, any new MNIFs that NAIT proposes must be approved by NAITSA before students can be charged.  

While the executive council has the power to approve or deny fees on behalf of the students, they felt it was important for the students to decide how to proceed. “We believe that students should have their say on these new fees. Especially in this current economic climate, students should be able to tell us what they need and vote on what’s important to them. We’re here to elevate their voices,” said Jerilyn Kotelniski, NAITSA executive council president.

Holding a plebiscite also allows NAITSA to gauge how important these learning support technologies are to students. “We hadn’t really surveyed [students] on that because those were services provided by NAIT…but we felt that this particular fee contained a basket of goods that students might miss if they were gone,” said Roth.

The executive council will adhere to the results of the plebiscite, so it is important that students vote and make their voices heard. “If they get 50 per cent plus one yes, they’ll approve the fee. If they get less than that, they will not approve the fee,” Roth explained.

Students can vote for executive council and the MNIF online with their myNAIT Student Portal credentials. Voting starts on Friday, February 11th at 12:01 a.m. and closes February 17 at 4 p.m. For more detailed information about the plebiscite, visit https://naitsa.ca/plebiscite/. To learn more about voting for executive council, including how to vote, visit https://elections.naitsa.ca/.

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