Camosun College students have to pay for a U-Pass, even if they attend only online courses. (Black Press Media file photo)

Camosun students still charged for U-Pass during COVID-19

Many students attending only online courses unable to opt out of program

Camosun College students will pay for a U-Pass this semester, even if all of their courses have been moved online in response to COVID-19.

Full-time student Kathleen Sparks wanted answers when she was told she couldn’t opt out of the $80-per semester transit pass, even though she was doing all of her courses from home.

“It’s not the end of the world but it’s a hard time for a lot of students,” she said. “It’s annoying to say the least.”

But Camosun College explained that it has never allowed online students to opt out of the U-Pass, even before COVID-19 restricted in-person classes.

“We have never had an opt-out option for online or distance education students,” said Michel Turcotte, executive director of the Camosun College Student Society. “The only difference is this year we have a lot more.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Masks now mandatory on public transit, ferries in B.C.

Turcotte notes that many students use the pass to get around the community – not just to get to school.

“It would be difficult to change all the procedures based on the pandemic,” he added. “There have been no changes in Camosun College fees or student society fees.”

UVic, he notes, allowed online students to opt out of the pass in pre COVID-19 times.

The money isn’t make or break, Sparks said. But it’s the principle of the fee that she doesn’t like, especially when the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University have nixed their U-Pass fees for the semester.

At UVic, only students with at least one on-campus course are charged the fee and all others can opt-in online. Royal Roads students also have an opt-in fee, rather than an opt-out option.

But for Sparks, taking a bus pass is a moot point in a COVID-19 world. The transfer student says it seems irresponsible to take the bus when she doesn’t have to.

“They shouldn’t be encouraging us to take the bus,” she noted. “I’ve paid the fee because tuition was due a week or so ago. I kind of just gave it up.”

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria bus ridership down 75 per cent amid pandemic


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

BC TransitCollegestudents

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cole Byers and Jasmine Grant are taking a leap of faith and opening The Rack Westcoast Bistro in Langford, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Langford residents making “all-in move” opening restaurant amid COVID-19 pandemic

Although The Rack Westcoast Bistro isn’t officially open yet, it’s serving anyone who wanders in

John Roney has been working on Beneath the Emerald Sea for about a year now and expects it to be released in fall of 2021. (Provided by John Roney)
Victoria man films underwater documentary about sea life around Vancouver Island

John Roney expects Under the Emerald Sea to be released in 2021

Bill Phelps’s life has changed since he was able to get a safe pharmaceutical alternative to fentanyl after his pain medication was cut off a couple of years ago. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Unhoused community in Greater Victoria struggles to access safe supply

Safer Victoria Project working to connect people sheltering outside with pharmaceutical alternatives

Victoria police are looking for information after a man was seen spray painting over a section of the More Justice, More Peace mural Oct. 31. (Victoria Police Department)
More Justice, More Peace mural vandalized days after new change

A man was seen spray painting over the artists’ statement Saturday morning

A 2.5-magnitude earthquake occurred beneath San Juan Island, Wash. – 25 kilometres from Sidney – late on Oct. 30. (Screenshot via United States Geological Survey)
Minor Washington earthquake felt in Sidney, Victoria

U.S. seismologists report 2.5-magnitude quake late Friday

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP are looking for information about William Mack, last seen in Duncan on Oct. 28. (File photo)
Police searching for missing man last seen near Duncan

William Mack, 72, was seen on Gibbins Road on Oct. 28

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Most Read