TMU's Wellbeing Future
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why is TMU asking for an increase to the student health and wellbeing fee?
Over the years, students have indicated that TMU’s wellbeing services could be better: more accessible, more equitable and easier to navigate in times of need.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the heightened importance of effective health and wellbeing resources, particularly for young people:
Surveys have found declining mental health among youth during the pandemic due to high levels of anxiety and loneliness, as well as changes to the care they were able to access.
There has been a steady increase in the use of mood and anxiety medication by youth ages five to 24 in the past five years.
More than one quarter of the children and youth hospitalized for all mental health conditions live in the least-affluent neighbourhoods.
TMU wants to address your concerns about its wellbeing services and the impact COVID-19 has had on many young people – but can’t do so effectively within the university’s existing wellbeing structure.
To support your long-term success, and to provide services that better meet the needs of diverse students juggling school and work in an urban setting, TMU is asking all full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students to contribute to the historic expansion of student health and wellbeing services on campus via a new Student Wellbeing Centre.
How much will the student health and wellbeing fee increase?
In order to help finance the enhanced services and programming that will operate from the new Student Wellbeing Centre, an increase to the Student Health and Wellness fee by $34.90 per term is needed to support costs, which will be matched by donors and the university.
The fee will prorate for students taking part-time course loads (i.e. students taking two or fewer classes per term will not pay the full amount).
Why doesn’t the university increase funding instead of asking students to contribute?
TMU is doing both. The university is increasing its investment in student wellbeing this year, and has invested nearly $2M in increased support and care for students, bringing the total to over $10M university-wide.
We get it though, times are tough and life is expensive. However, the benefits of investing in wellbeing now are well worth the cost. Here are some details on the fee itself:
We can go further together: TMU invests over $8M in wellbeing each year, and is adding nearly $2M to that this year. A new student fee would bring in over $2M in new revenue, allowing twice as much new activity for students. That’s enough to pay for new clinical and support staff, a new building and much more.
Mandatory fee = lower fee: Charging a mandatory fee also helps achieve the lowest possible per-student rate for services that will affect everyone.
World-class care, below-average costs: The system average health fee for students in Ontario is about $80. A fee increase of $34.90 per term would keep TMU below what most students in Ontario pay for wellbeing services, while providing what we aim to be the best care experience you’ll find anywhere.
Students aren’t in this alone: We’re seeking equivalent support between students, donors and the university to support better wellbeing for everyone. If a new student fee is passed, the university will be investing $130.24 per student per term, while students invest $38.83 per term. That means for every $1 students invest, the university will be investing $4.
Fairness for part-time students: Students taking two or fewer classes per term will not pay the full amount.
Students' voices matter: TMU is looking to involve students at every step of the way in our journey to improve wellbeing, starting with a referendum, moving to a holistic wellbeing strategy – we will listen to students.
How does the proposed health and wellbeing fee compare to similar fees at other universities?
The proposed fee puts TMU well within the average fee level for comparable health services in Ontario, while providing something significantly new to students.
Who will be charged the fee?
The fee will be charged to all full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students. The amount charged will reflect campus access and will prorate for students taking part-time course loads (i.e. students taking two or fewer classes per term will not pay the full amount).
How will the money from the student fee be spent?
The fee will combine with university and donor investment to address gaps and improve service in Health & Wellbeing Services (e.g. additional clinical and support staff, process improvement, wait time reduction), and support construction of the new Student Wellbeing Centre.
A minimum of 25% of the new fee will be dedicated to frontline service enhancements, though this will likely increase with donor support and as capital costs are retired. All additional revenue will be directed to supporting student wellbeing programming. Any revenue not required for capital or associated costs will go directly to supporting student wellbeing services.
Is the new student fee eligible for OSAP?
Yes. Because it’s mandatory, the $34.90 per-term fee increase will be eligible for OSAP, meaning those in need will get increased assistance to pay for it.
When will the student wellbeing fee increase if the “yes” vote is achieved?
If approved, the new fee would be implemented in September 2023.
What is the Student Wellbeing Centre?
The Student Wellbeing Centre is envisioned as an opportunity to consolidate all dimensions of student wellbeing at a single, central location on campus.
This building will create over 18,000 square feet of new clinical and support space for student wellbeing services, as well as green space and activity space.
The Student Wellbeing Centre design incorporates principles of high sustainability, including a timber construction, with natural light and green features to promote a sense of calm, welcoming and ease. A central reception and check-in desk in the lobby will create an open and inviting atmosphere, with stairs leading to the first several floors. There will also be alternative entrances for students who may desire more privacy.
What benefits will a Student Wellbeing Centre deliver?
Bringing all services together will raise awareness of the many resources available to students, improve accessibility to programming, and maximize connection points, providing holistic delivery of health and wellbeing to students for decades to come.
Studies have shown that co-location of services at a single point of access has tangible benefits for both patients and staff – particularly those with the most acute needs. Some demonstrated benefits from previous studies include:
Holistic Primary Care serves as a gateway to mental health and accessibility support.
Improved access, awareness and convenience through a wide range of student-centred supports staffed by interprofessional teams.
Greatest benefits for those who need it most, including students with complex and intersectional health and wellbeing needs.
Integrated care centred on health equity reduces fragmented care, in particular for people with severe mental health concerns.
Systemic level innovation with cross-functional continuous learning opportunities and integrated Supports with the Downtown East Toronto neighbourhood.
Positive wellbeing leads to enhanced productivity and improved health outcomes.
What kinds of services could be available at the Student Wellbeing Centre?
The Student Wellbeing Centre may centralize a full suite of student services and programming at one location, including:
What improvements can we expect to see in health and wellbeing programs and services?
This additional investment will prioritize front-line service enhancements for students, and place you in a state-of-the-art facility for a better all-around wellbeing experience at TMU. The combined investment of the university, students and donations will go towards improving programming and services, including:
Additional clinical and mental health support staff
Reduced appointment wait times
24/7-365 virtual/remote counselling access
Expanded mentoring opportunities
Student navigation staff & processes
Integrated campus & community wellbeing strategy
Food, snacks and other wellbeing supports for students
How will wait times change?
Wait times vary across all TMU services, and we try to prioritize the most urgent student needs first. We know we can do better, though. By investing in staff and processes, the university was able to bring down wait times from 30 days to 7.7 days in Academic Accommodation Services (AAS) during peak times, even though demand increased.
Your “yes” vote will allow us to replicate this success across our other wellbeing services, like counselling, the Medical Centre and more.
Will grad students have access to these services?
Grad students will have full access to all services in the Student Wellbeing Centre.
Improvements to wellbeing at TMU will also bring specialized supports for grad students, including GradMentors, Grad Career Mentoring and mentoring for international graduate students through the Tri-Mentoring Program, counselling specifically for graduate students, and advancements in our wellbeing service delivery model to better meet the specific needs of our graduate community.
As TMU evolves, the university will invest net-new funding in focused support for students in graduate and professional programs.
How will this investment benefit marginalized students?
There are significant benefits to marginalized students. TMU is already investing in specific counselling and care pathways for Black and Indigenous students, as well students with eating disorders and other critical needs, and will be able to improve these offerings with additional resources.
Also, a “yes” vote supports the co-location of health and wellbeing services, and improved health outcomes for students who are navigating complex mental-health challenges. Everything in one Student Wellbeing Centre will also help TMU honour the connection between wellbeing and identity development. This means more holistic support for the equity-deserving students within our community.
How will this fee increase impact Career Boost opportunities?
If TMU is in a position to expand wellbeing services, there will be opportunities to consider additional employment and experiential opportunities for students. As we explore this further, we look forward to consulting with you every step of the way.