Your Money

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Due to the Student Choice Initiative, student fees have now been categorized into “Essential” and “Optional” fees.

A detailed breakdown of your student fees can be found on the MSU website. Additionally, the MSU hosts all past audited financial statements and operating budgets on our website for students to review.

Essential Fees

Under the new government directive, student services that deliver campus safety, health & wellness, athletics & recreation, academic support, and campus infrastructure are considered mandatory.


 What does each optional and essential fee support, exactly?


Optional fees

Advocacy [Provincial / Federal / OUSA] ($3.50): The MSU advocates on behalf of students to the provincial and federal governments. As a member of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA), the MSU lobbies the government regarding a variety of student issues, outlined by policy. The $3.50 associated with this fee is used to pay the OUSA membership fee, as well as provide the resourses for student staff to research, produce, publish and advocated for student-focused ameliorations to government policy.

Campus Events ($17.50): The Campus Events department organizes all large-scale programming at McMaster including concerts, Welcome Week, Homecoming, Charity Ball, Light Up the Night, and Life After Mac. The Campus Events team enhances campus life & the student experience beyond the classroom. The Campus Events fee supports the staff and resources needs of a department that books concerts, speakers and events throughout the year. Campus Events is able to keep ticket costs well below market rate for major artists and speakers, whle offering free events like trivia and games nights.

Child Care Centre ($3.56): The Centre provides quality care for child development and supports student parents. The staff of the centre provide individualized care for each child while fostering creativity, curiosity, independence, exercise, communication, and respect for others. The Centre has been part of the Westdale commuity for over 40 years.

CFMU 93.3FM ($13.72): The campus radio station, where both students and community members can host their own show or podcast, representing the voice of McMaster and Hamilton. Programming includes, community issues, arts and culture, while playing music that recognizes emerging artists.

Compass Information Centre ($3): Located on the first floor of the Student Centre, Compass provides information, transportation tickets, merchandise, and event tickets. Student staff are more than happy to answer general inquiries regarding the MSU and the University.

Creating Leadership Amongst Youth (CLAY) ($2): This weekend conference cultivates leadership skills and lasting friendships among high school students across Ontario. McMaster student volunteers facilitate sessions and events promoting self-exploration, empowerment, support, and wellness. Fees collected by students help to subsidize conference costs for students experiencing financial need, aid in the booking of the camp space, and general supplies for leadership sessions and events.

Clubs Department ($10): The MSU recognizes over 350 student clubs in five distinct categories: academic, cultural, recreational, religious, and social issues. Clubs provide meaningful contributions to McMaster and are an excellent opportunity to foster a community. This fee supports the hundreds of clubs that apply for funding to facilitate events, programming and educational initiatives. All monies are remitted to a club on a reimbursement system, in which clubs submit receipts for approved expenses.

Emergency Student Grants ($2): Each year, the MSU allocates funds to provide students with emergency bursary funding. Students experiencing financial need due to exceptional circumstances can access the MSU Emergency Bursary by filling out an online profile on Mosaic.

First Year Council (FYC) ($2): FYC is the representative body for first-year students that serves to fulfill their distinctive needs. They’re elected each fall to address student issues through advocacy, while also enhancing the student experience by organizing events. FYC uses financial resources to plan and host first-year events, as well as to create educational and awareness campaigns.

Horizons ($2): This weekend leadership conference introduces first-year students to McMaster in the summer, while focusing on fostering peer-to-peer mentorship relationships. It also showcases involvement opportunities within the McMaster community. Fees collected by students help to subsidize conference costs for underserved youth, aid in the booking of the camp space, and general supplies for leadership sessions and events.

Mac Farmstand ($1): The student-run farmers’ market provides fresh, local produce to the McMaster community from June through October. Mac Farmstand hosts a variety of events to promote nutrition, culinary literacy, and sustainable food systems. The Farmstand is able to keep its prices low for students because of the subsidy it receives. Mac Farmstand operates on a break-even basis and does not generate a profit, so as to provide a service to the McMaster community.

MACycle ($2.25): As the campus bike repair shop, MACycle has all of the tools and parts a student needs to fix a bike, along with assistance from trained student staff. In addition, MACycle provides resources for preventing bike theft and operates an annual second-hand bike auction in September.

Maroons ($2): The Maroons aim to connect students to the MSU and enhance the student community. Maroons partner with MSU services and businesses to provide support, spirit, and school unity at events like Welcome Week, Homecoming, and Light Up the Night. The service allocates fees towards planning events with other MSU services, providing care packages during exam seasons, and promoting annual campaigns.

Shinerama ($1.50): The nationwide Shinerama campaign raises money for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) research & care. Students are making a difference in the lives of those battling CF, and are working to create a world without CF. Shinerama organizes the campus-wide efforts to raise money, which include the planing and logitics of Shine day, wherein thousands of deploy around Hamilton to raise money.

Spark ($2.25): Spark is a first-year mentorship program helping students transition into university. Through weekly sessions, social events, and workshops, it helps students build a strong peer support network while introducing many volunteer opportunities. Sessions materials for the first-year participants, as well as costs from events such as the First Year Formal, are covered using the Spark fee.

The Silhouette ($9): McMaster’s student-run newspaper has been in publication for over 80 years, publishing weekly news, opinion pieces, sports coverage, and arts & culture stories. The Silhouette offers abundant volunteer and paid journalism opportunities.

Essential fees

Heath and Counseling ($18): Supporting access to basic medical care, mental health resources, peer support and counseling services, this fee recognizes the essential nature of MSU services including: the Student Health Education Centre (SHEC), the Women and Gender Equity Network (WGEN), Maccess, the Pride Community Centre (PCC), and the Food Collective Centre (FCC).

Campus Safety ($14.20): Student Services that promote safety, including the prevention of sexual violence are recognized as essential. The MSU services considered essential within the Campus Safety fee are the Emergency First Response Team (EFRT), the Student Walk Home Attendant Team (SWHAT) , Diversity Services and other service costs related to sexual violence and prevention.

Academic Support ($15.50): Academic support fees are deemed essential and include Macademics and Ombuds, as well as the operations of services that help students navigate the academic and administrative landscape of McMaster University.

Recreation ($9): Fees that support the operating and capital costs of athletic and/or recreational facilities/operations are considered essential. This fee will support the central operations of the MSU Clubs Department, along with clubs inside the recreational classification. It will not, however, support clubs in the other four classifications including: academic, cultural, religious, and social issues. Those clubs will be supported through the optional Clubs Department fee.

Student Buildings ($13 - Capital Building & $0.67 [per unit to max 30 units] - McMaster University Student Centre): Fees that support spaces and facilities that host student activities and services are considered essential. This fees support the operations and facilities of and within the McMaster University Student Centre.

Health and Dental Insurance: All full-time undergraduate students (enrolled in 18 units or more) are automatically enrolled into the MSU health and dental insurance plans. The cost of health coverage is $106, while the cost of dental coverage is $126.50. The annual insurance plans offer coverage from September 1 to August 31. Details of both plans can be found here. Students who already maintain health and/or dental coverage may opt-out of either or both MSU plans. Opt-out information is available here.

Student Transit Pass ($216.73): All full-time undergraduate students (enrolled in 18 units or more) hold a 12 month, unlimited ride bus pass with the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR). The bus pass is valid from September 1 through August 30 each year. Click here for more information about the MSU bus pass.