King's student overpays by $1,000

Proof that students should pay attention to what's included in their university fees

Rebecca MacDonald caught this expensive mistake after paying for this term's tuition. (Photo: Mick Côté)

A student at the University of King's College uncovered a clerical error that cost her just over $1,000 in tuition fees.

Rebecca MacDonald, a second-year student in French and psychology, has lived in Nova Scotia her entire life. However, she was registered as a student from Ontario, which meant that she was not eligible to receive the provincial bursaries.

"I only found that out by talking to my friends about tuition," said MacDonald.

MacDonald and a friend from Ontario were comparing their tuition receipts. That's when she noticed that they were both receiving the same amount of bursary money from the Nova Scotia government.

Financial aid from province

In 2008, the province gave $66 million to the Nova Scotia University Student Bursary Trust. The program provides financial assistance to students who attend university in Nova Scotia, which has some of the highest tuition rates in the country.

Students from the province can receive a total of $1,283 for a course load of 10 classes, where people from other regions of Canada are entitled to $261. This bursary was not available to out-of-province students until 2010.

The program will expire at the end of this school year.

Click to Enlarge This chart shows a comparison between the funds given to students from Nova Scotia and out-of-province students.

King's owes MacDonald $1,022 for payments that she made over the past four terms. This number would have been much higher if she had not been awarded a $4,000 scholarship upon graduating high school. Without this extra money, MacDonald would have had to pay up to $2,305 in extra charges.

"I was really frustrated. They kept sending me back and forth between the finance people and the registrar, telling me they don't deal with this," said MacDonald. "Somebody has to. This is a lot of money."

Elizabeth Yeo, the King's registrar, said that this a rare mistake.

"As far as I'm aware, I've never heard of this happening before," Yeo said. "In any kind of an operation, sometimes errors can happen."

MacDonald will receive a retroactive cheque within the next two weeks.

MacDonald said she hopes people will pay close attention to their tuition fees. She suggests that students ask for help from their student accounts services if they don't understand their financial statements.


Go bex!!!! So awesome that you were able to figure this out! It is such a crazy thing to have happened...

Posted by Maria | Jan 17, 2022

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