Watcard tax to cost students nearly $30,000

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Starting Sept. 15 a three per cent increase in the service charge applied to Watcard was transferred to the student body.


Up until this year the service charge, which was originally five per cent, was covered by Feds when students made purchases with their Watcards at any Feds services. Covering the fee cost Feds $18,017.42 last year.


“We had always known that we wouldn’t be able to cover [the increase] unless we made financial arrangements outside of it, so one of our options was always to just pass the fee along [to students] at this point in time,” said Ben Balfour, Feds VP Finance.


Watcard officially began charging an eight per cent service change on Aug. 1.


“We’ve been covering the cost right up until this point so that we could make sure we had all our operations in order so that we could roll it out properly,” Balfour said.


May Yan, the director of Watcard, cited operational costs as the reason for the increase.


“The Watcard is a break-even operation, so every year we evaluate the costs associated with the operation … that includes equipment maintenance, upgrades, and administrative costs.


“Watcard is not a store, it’s a service … it’s just a straight pass-through of the costs of the operation,” Yan said.


Additionally, the service charge will now be applied to Turnkey, a service which was previously exempt. Though Feds will be continuing to cover five per cent of the service charge, the entire eight per cent will be passed on to students for Turnkey purchases as prices are already marked so low that Feds would be operating at a loss.


Watcard notified Feds of the increase on Apr. 25, originally setting the start date for July 1. The date was later pushed to Aug. 1 but the agreement presented to Feds by the Watcard office has still not been signed.


“We really want to be open about it, we want to make sure that students know what is going on and we really appreciate any questions,” Balfour said.


Feds is currently projecting that the increase will cost students a total of $29,563.34 over the next year.
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