BY KIRK PERRY
According to Registrar Linda Dalton, about 1,300 requests for tuition refunds have been submitted at Sheridan College in response to the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education’s refund and dropout offer. Sheridan currently has 23,000 full-time and 18,500 part-time students enrolled.
The offer was made after the five-week college strike, impacting students all over Ontario, ended.
The college has been regularly informing students about resources to take advantage of before considering dropping out. Emails have been sent out over the past few weeks regarding financial and mental wellness support available on each campus.
Many students across Ontario have expressed their feelings and worries regarding the new fall semester schedule, adding to the list of challenges students are facing.
“College students’ biggest challenges are being away and independent for the first time and the pressure to perform well to obtain their goals of a career in the areas of their interests,” said Waterloo Innovative Wellness instructor Jayne Hembruff.
Hembruff thought the ministry’s dropout offer was a “nice option” but disagreed with dropping out.
“Each individual has to find what their passion is and that will help them continue to have motivation. I encourage students if they’ve invested time and money to continue with their studies. It’s only been five weeks,” said Hembruff.
Hembruff also suggested ways for students to avoid stress in their current situation.
“[Students should] get involved in various activities and get involved with groups,” said Hembruff.
For some students however, the offer may be a blessing in disguise. Sometimes things happen and students have to drop out against their wishes. Former Sheridan student Aletia McKinnon was in that predicament.
“I dropped out because I could not find a stable place to live,” said McKinnon.
Her story is not uncommon. Long commutes and fear for her own safety prevented her from attending class. Even though her first attempt at post-secondary education didn’t work out for her, she still spoke highly of the college and said she learned a lot.
“I loved the atmosphere of the campus—full of artists and creativity,” said McKinnon.
Students in similar situations to hers may have the easy way out they need without being stuck for too long.
McKinnon also had some advice for students considering dropping out now.
“Focus on yourself most importantly. Your mental and physical health are more important than your program. There are a lot of distractions and you shouldn’t let people get in the way of your own career and life goals,” said McKinnon.
Dec. 5 was the last day at Sheridan to submit a refund request and drop out.