Ancillary Fees—Prohibition on Mandatory Course-Related Purchases

PDAD&C#12, 2012-13

To:  Principals, Deans, Academic Directors & Chairs
Professional and Managerial Staff
From:  Jill Matus, Vice-Provost, Students

September 20, 2012 

Re:  Ancillary Fees-Prohibition on Mandatory Course-Related Purchases 


I am writing to remind you that fee guidelines from the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities PROHIBIT compulsory tuition-related ancillary fees or surcharges related to the delivery of academic courses. (Please see PDAD&C memorandum #5, 2011-12 (

All of the costs associated with students' participation in a course are expected to be funded through tuition revenue and the University's provincial operating grant. Students must be able to complete all aspects of a course without a mandatory surcharge (and students cannot be penalized for not choosing to pay a surcharge). Specifically, it is not permitted to require students to make any of the following purchases in order to complete an assignment, fulfill a participation requirement or take a test:
1. physical items such as "clickers"
2. access to online resources
3. online software applications

Compulsory ancillary fees must be non-tuition-related and may not be charged for items and services that support the general costs of program delivery. Instructors cannot require students to pay any fees or costs related to assessment or grading.

Within Ministry guidelines and subject to the provisions of the University's policies, some types of ancillary fees are permitted. For more information, please see PDAD&C #5, 2011-12 (

When designing courses and assignments, instructors should be mindful of the ancillary fee guidelines if they are relying on tools or materials that students purchase. For example, if an instructor wishes to use classroom response systems (or "clickers"), he or she may do so but cannot require that students purchase this equipment. When instructors are using clickers, a "no cost" option should be provided for students. This may include administering questions through Blackboard's test or assignment tool or using scannable forms in class.

Please also note that there may be serious implications with respect to the accommodation of students with disabilities, and the University's obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), if clickers or some other forms of instructional technology are utilized.

For assistance with use of instructional technology please contact the Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation (

If you have any queries about existing practice in your unit, or if you have other questions about the ancillary fee policies, please contact the following:

On matters related to academic ancillary fees:
Sally Garner, Executive Director, Planning & Budget -- (416) 978-2819 /

On matters related to non-academic ancillary fees (incidental fees):
Jim Delaney, Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students -- (416) 978-4027 /