Connect with us


$31K Fanshawe College EV tech program ‘cash grab’: London mother



Article content

Fanshawe College’s electric vehicle technician program is a “cash grab” as the school will charge international student tuition to domestic students, a London woman says.

Josephine Bondi, frustrated her daughter would have to pay international student tuition of $31,400 during two years for the course, questions why the school has not yet applied to have the Ontario government fund the program.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Article content

If the province approves funding, domestic students will be charged a lower tuition. Comparable Fanshawe programs now cost $12,700, nearly $20,000 less.

But the school has to apply to the province for financial support and it has not done so, said Kyle Rooks, a spokesperson for the college.

“Fanshawe is following the required process for developing a new post-secondary program in Ontario, and will be seeking ministry approval when we are able to do so,” Rooks said Tuesday, declining to detail why the college has not yet applied.

When the Ministry of Colleges and Universities approves funding for courses, the college receives money to cover part of the cost for Canadian students. This reduces the cost to domestic students.

Fanshawe College announced in September 2023 it was to offer the course, giving it a full year to apply before classes begin.

Once the college applies for funding, it takes about 90 days to get approval, meaning time is running out for the start of classes in September, Bondi said.

“It is frustrating. I feel like I have to give up hope that my daughter will go to school in September,” she said.

Advertisement 3

Article content

“It’s like they are deterring Canadian students. It’s a cash grab. They want to get huge tuition from international student fees.”

Bondi said she may look to St. Clair College in Windsor, where the EV technician program was approved in 2023. It charges domestic students $4,323 a year in tuition.

“I can’t pay $31,000. This is giving international students an advantage when it comes to getting a job in the EV sector,” Bondi said.

Josephine Bondi of London says Fanshawe College is deterring Canadian students, including her daughter, by making them pay the same tuition as international students, $31,400 over two years, for a electric vehicle technician program starting in the fall. Photo taken on Friday, April 19, 2024. (Mike Hensen/The London Free Press)

Since funding for the program is not approved by the provincial government Bondi does not qualify for grants and loans through student assistance programs.

Honda is expected to announce this week it is locating a new electric vehicle battery plant in Ontario, joining Volkswagen and Stellantis that are both building plants here. Volkswagen’s plant in St. Thomas is expected to open in 2027 and employ 3,000. Stellantis will also open an EV battery plant in Windsor in 2025 that is expected to employ 2,500.

In addition, several automotive manufacturers across Ontario will supply the EV manufacturers and more are expected to announce they will open or expand production in Ontario.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Fanshawe now offers a two-year aviation technician and aircraft maintenance programs at a cost of $3,176 a term or $6,352 for the year, or $12,704 for the full program.

Though the EV technician program is geared toward repair and maintenance of vehicles, Bondi believes it will improve her daughter’s chances to work in an assembly plant.

When searching for a home for its plant, Volkswagen officials met with Fanshawe College administrators, toured the school and discussed offering a  program to help supply workers. But many college programs can be used to educate workers for the shop floor of the plant, said Sean Dyke, chief executive of the St. Thomas Economic Development Corp.

 “People working on the factory floor will have many different skills from different programs. I suspect Fanshawe has more (courses) in the hopper. A lot of colleges and universities will,” he said.

 “It is a great program to get involved in the EV sector.”

Dyke said he’s not concerned the cost of the Fanshawe program might reduce the number of workers for the Volkswagen plant, which will operate under the automaker’s subsidiary PowerCo. There will be new programs offered by the time the plant opens in three years and there is time to ramp up education programs, he said.

Advertisement 5

Article content

“There will be changes in education to meet the demand; it is inevitable, but they do not have to be EV focused. We have robust college programs, good education programs to offer,” Dyke said.

 “I am not worried.”

Recommended from Editorial

Support local journalism

We’re glad you are here. Our website is dedicated to covering the stories that matter to the London area. Here are five things you can do to stay informed:

  • Subscribe to get all our coverage, including exclusives. Or register first to sample more of our coverage.
  • Download our app for iOS or Android, and don’t forget to turn on breaking news alerts.
  • Newsletters bring our coverage to your inbox. Whether you want to follow the biggest stories or just find some weekend fun, there’s one for you
  • Bookmark and check back for the latest updates.

Article content

Continue Reading