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Tuesday, August 12, 2003
University tuition fees2003/04
When Canada's undergraduate university students return to school this fall, they can expect to pay on average 7.4% more in tuition fees, the biggest increase in four years.
Undergraduate students will pay an average of $4,025 in tuition fees for the 2003/04 academic year, up from $3,749 in 2002/03. This is more than double the average of $1,464 in 1990/91, the result of significant increases during the 1990s.
Although the rate of increase has been slower in the last three years than during the 1990s, average tuition fees continue to rise faster than inflation.
From 1990/91 to 1999/2000, undergraduate tuition fees rose by an average of 9.6% per year. However, beginning this decade, the rate of increase of tuition fees has slowed to an annual average of 4.9%.
For the second consecutive year, British Columbia will post the largest increase in average undergraduate fees, up 30.4% on the heels of last year's 25.7% rise. These increases followed the lifting of a six-year freeze on tuition fees in 2002.
In 2003/04, undergraduate university students in British Columbia will pay an average of $4,140, surpassing the national average ($4,025) for the first time in eight years.
Tuition fees decline only in Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province in which tuition fees will decline for 2003/04. Average undergraduate tuition fees in the province will drop 4.5% to $2,606, following a 10.0% drop during each of the previous two years.
This marks the fourth year in a row in which university fees in Newfoundland and Labrador have remained stable or declined. Universities in Manitoba have also frozen tuition fees for four consecutive years. Tuition fees at universities in Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba are among the lowest in Canada.
Average undergraduate tuition fees for 2003/04 remain highest in Nova Scotia at $5,557, followed by Ontario at $4,923. Ontario's average increase of 5.5% is somewhat below the national average of 7.4%.
During the past four years, increases in Ontario have ranged from 3.9% to 5.5%, well below the double-digit gains recorded between 1994/95 and 1999/2000.
Fees will be frozen for the seventh straight year at $1,675 for residents of Quebec attending universities in Quebec, the lowest level in the country. However, students from other provinces attending universities in Quebec will have to pay $4,300 on average, up 2.9%.
Biggest increases in tuition in dentistry, law and medicine
The biggest increases in tuition fees this fall will occur for students in dentistry, law and medicine. These also continue to be the most expensive programs.
Average tuition fees in dentistry will rise 20.9% to $11,733. Dentistry students in Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Alberta will face the largest increases, ranging from 45.1% in Alberta to 55.1% in Saskatchewan.
The highest fees will be paid by dentistry students in Saskatchewan ($30,178) and in Ontario ($17,087).
Medical students will pay $9,406 on average this year, up 16.7%, while law students will pay $5,995 on average, a 19.4% increase. Tuition fees for medicine and law are still highest in Ontario and Nova Scotia.
Tuition for engineering will increase 13.1% on average to $4,371. Fees in engineering are rising a significant 30.9% in British Columbia and 12.5% in Ontario.
Fees for graduate, international students also rising
Canadian students in graduate programs are facing increases similar to the undergraduate level, with average tuition rising 6.8% to $5,199. This is the smallest increase since 1994/95. The largest increases for graduate programs are 13.1% in Alberta and 12.9% in British Columbia.
Graduate students in Ontario will still pay the highest fees in the country ($8,376), followed by those in Nova Scotia ($6,898). Graduate fees are down 5.0% in Newfoundland and Labrador, and they remain frozen in Manitoba for the second consecutive year.
Graduate fees remain lowest in Quebec, where they will be frozen for Quebec residents for the sixth consecutive year.
International students also face increases in tuition. At the undergraduate level, average tuition fees for international students will increase 7.5% to $11,256. Graduate tuition fees will increase 6.3% to $10,775 on average.
Undergraduate tuition fees for international students will increase in all provinces except Manitoba, which has the lowest fees at $5,706.
British Columbia will have the highest average undergraduate fees for international students at $13,440. Graduate programs for international students at universities in Ontario will be the most expensive, at $14,205.
Additional compulsory fees on the rise
The bundle of services included in additional compulsory fees varies from one institution to the next and can also change over time. Typically, they include fees for recreation and athletics, student health services, student association and other fees that apply to undergraduate students.
Undergraduate students will pay an average of $623 in additional compulsory fees for the coming academic year, up 9.0%. Average additional fees will increase in every province. These fees vary from $302 in New Brunswick to $694 in Ontario.
Students in British Columbia will face the highest increase in average compulsory fees this fall, up 35.4% to $584. The increase is due mainly to a referendum approved by students at University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University to include transportation fees for the U-Pass program in the student association fees.
Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3123.
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