Student Choice Initiative

In January 2019, the Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities announced the Student Choice Initiative. The Student Choice Initiative allows students to choose which supplementary fees they will pay through an opt-out process.

On November 21, 2019, the Divisional Court of Ontario overturned the Student Choice Initiative. On December 9, the Ontario Provincial Government announced that they are appealing this decision.

Once the appeals process has worked its way through the Court, we will update you on any additional changes to Student Choice Initiative.

Frequently Asked Questions

Note: A few of the terms used in these FAQs may be unfamiliar to you. Please visit our Glossary for definitions to key terms.

What is the Student Choice Initiative?

The Student Choice Initiative (SCI) is the provincial mandate that gave York University students an opt-out option for certain supplementary fees during their enrolment process. It provided all students with a transparent breakdown of their tuition and supplementary fees.

Essential supplementary fees are compulsory educational costs that have been reviewed and approved by York University and the provincial government. Essential services ensure the health and safety of the campus and provide academic support to students. Non-essential supplementary fees support student-run programs and services that directly benefit students and enhance campus life and culture.

What is the difference between essential and non-essential supplementary fees?

According to the Government of Ontario’s Tuition Fee Framework and Ancillary Fee Guidelines document, “essential” services include:

  • Academic Support;
  • Athletics and Recreation;
  • Campus Safety;
  • Career Services;
  • Financial Aid Offices;
  • Health and Counselling;
  • Student Achievement and Records;
  • Student Buildings; and
  • Student ID Cards.

Services are deemed “essential” by individual institutions in accordance with the categories in this established provincial framework. York University’s Student Choice Initiative Steering Committee decided what services and groups are essential or non-essential at York University using this framework.

Non-essential services have been identified and agreed-to during consultation with all 38 student levy-funded organizations at York University.

Using the Ministry guidelines as a foundation for categorization, and after consultation with all student levy groups and the York community, a list of essential and non-essential supplementary fees was developed and agreed upon. The list can be found on the Student Financial Services’ Course and Program Fees webpage.

All undergraduate students will also pay College Council fees. These fees provide numerous programs and leadership opportunities to enrich and support student life. Programs include peer mentoring, club support, skills workshop sessions, off-campus trips, intramural sport and orientation week events.

If I have questions about my account statement, who should I contact?

If you have a question about your student account statement, please check your transactions online or contact Registrarial Services in person or by phone (416-872-YORK (9675)).

Why am I seeing charges for supplementary fees on my Student Account Statement?

In November 2019 the Divisional Court of Ontario overturned the Student Choice Initiative that enabled students to opt out of non-essential fees. As a result, all students enrolled in Winter 2020 term courses have been charged all supplementary fees for the courses they are taking this term.

Supplementary fees were posted to your February 2020 Student Account Statement as “NonEssentlChrg” in the transaction column, with “Supplementary Fees” as the description. For details on what was included in your supplementary fee charge, go to and select your Faculty.