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Thursday, September 1, 2005

University tuition fees


Canada's undergraduate university students face their smallest increase in tuition fees in more than a decade this fall.

After years of double-digit increases in the early 1990s, undergraduate students can expect to pay 1.8% more on average when they return to school next month.

This is about half the rate of growth recorded in the previous academic year, and the lowest since the 1.5% increase in the academic year 1978/79.

Undergraduate students will pay an average of $4,214 in tuition fees for the 2005/06 academic year, up from $4,140 the year before. This is almost triple the average of $1,464 in 1990/91.

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Since 1990/91, tuition fees have increased at an annual average rate of 7.3%. In the 1990/91 and 1991/92 academic years alone, they went up 15.2% and 16.5% respectively. In contrast, since 2000, the increase has slowed to an annual average of 4.1%. The recent lower fee increases reflect government decisions to regulate fees.

Even so, average tuition fees between 1990/91 and 2003/04 increased at a faster pace than inflation. During this period, tuition rose at an average annual rate of 8.0%. This was four times the average rate of inflation of 1.9% as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

Tuition fees up in eight provinces

Tuition fees are rising in eight provinces for the coming academic year, although in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba the increases are around 1.0% or less. Fees will remain virtually unchanged in Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan.

Note to readers

Average tuition and additional fees are weighted by the number of students enrolled by institution and field of study.

For Quebec, a distinction is made for both in and out-of-province students in the weighted average calculations.

All fees are reported in current dollars.

The biggest increases will be in the three Maritime provinces: New Brunswick, where tuition will rise 6.7%, Prince Edward Island, where the increase will be 6.2%, and Nova Scotia, where the increase will be 4.6%.

Tuition fees will be below the national average in three provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Manitoba.

Quebec undergrads will continue to pay the lowest fees in the country as a result of a tuition freeze that has kept fees at less than half the national average since the late 1990s.

The highest fees are again in Nova Scotia, where average tuition will cost undergrads $6,281, a 4.6% increase.

Nationally, tuition fees this academic fall are 22.2% higher than they were in 2000/01. In British Columbia, they rose 88.0% during this five-year period, but declined 22.7% in Newfoundland and Labrador.

In 2002/03, the province of British Columbia lifted a six-year tuition freeze. After three years of double-digit increases, tuition fees in that province will rise by 2.9% this year.

Compared with the 1990/91 academic year, tuition fees have doubled, and in some cases have more than tripled, with the greatest increases being in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.

Tuition fees in professional fields still highest

The biggest increases in tuition fees this fall will occur for students in architecture and dentistry. The most expensive programs remain dentistry and medicine.

Students in architecture will pay $3,931 in tuition on average, a 9.2% jump from the previous year. Those in dentistry will see a 5.7% rise to an average of $12,942. Average fees for medicine will be $10,349.

Law students, who have traditionally faced the biggest increase in tuition, can expect to pay 3.0% more this fall. Since the start of the decade, tuition fees for law have risen 67.4%, the highest increase in all faculties.

All professional fields have seen large increases in tuition since 2000/01. Whereas average undergraduate fees advanced 22.2%, fees in law, medicine and dentistry have climbed by 67.4%, 59.4% and 53.6% respectively.

Average tuition fees by faculty
  2004/05 2005/06 2004/05 to 2005/06
  Current $ % change
Agriculture 3,618 3,675 1.6
Architecture 3,599 3,931 9.2
Arts 3,962 4,028 1.7
Commerce 3,790 3,852 1.6
Dentistry 12,239 12,942 5.7
Education 3,252 3,298 1.4
Engineering 4,591 4,677 1.9
Household Sciences 3,816 3,912 2.5
Law 6,577 6,772 3.0
Medicine 10,139 10,349 2.1
Music 3,754 3,919 4.4
Science 4,093 4,150 1.4
Undergraduate 4,140 4,214 1.8
Graduate 5,448 5,699 4.6

Graduate fees rising at over twice the rate for undergrads

Students in graduate programs are facing stiffer increases in tuition than undergraduates. On average, graduate students will pay 4.6% more when they return to school, more than twice the change for undergrads. On average this fall, graduate students will pay $5,699.

Graduate fees are rising in eight provinces for the coming academic year, with the largest increase, 23.2%, being in Alberta. In Manitoba, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador graduate fees are virtually unchanged and in Saskatchewan, graduate fees are decreasing.

Since 2000/01, graduate fees have climbed 40.0%. Over that period, graduate fees went up in seven provinces, the largest increases being 104.3% in British Columbia and 95.3% in Alberta. In Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador, graduate fees have declined since 2000/01.

International students will also pay more

International students also face rises in tuition. Nationally, international students will pay 8.5% more in fees this fall compared with the previous academic year.

At the undergraduate level, average tuition fees for international students will increase 6.7% to $12,587.

At the graduate level, these students will pay on average just over three times the fees Canadian students will pay.

Tuition fees for international students are rising in all provinces, from a high of 38.4% in Saskatchewan and 37.0% in Manitoba to a low of 3.0% in Quebec and 4.2% in British Columbia.

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, these include fees for recreation and athletics, student health services, student association and other fees that apply to full-time Canadian students.

Additional compulsory fees are generally exempt from any provincial tuition fee policy.

Average undergraduate additional compulsory fees
  2000/01 2004/05 2005/06 2000/01 to 2005/06 2004/05 to 2005/06
  Current $ % change
Canada 437 585 605 38.6 3.5
Newfoundland and Labrador 366 455 464 26.8 2.0
Prince Edward Island 396 519 584 47.5 12.5
Nova Scotia 315 487 476 51.2 -2.2
New Brunswick 182 309 345 89.5 11.7
Quebec 387 544 575 48.7 5.6
Ontario 537 676 705 31.3 4.3
Manitoba 324 629 786 142.9 25.1
Saskatchewan 397 446 458 15.2 2.6
Alberta 430 545 566 31.8 3.9
British Columbia 350 546 477 36.0 -12.7

Additional compulsory fees for undergraduates make up, on average, 12.6% of the total fees a student is required to pay to the institution. Nationally, additional fees this fall will rise 3.5% over last year.

On average, undergraduates will pay additional compulsory fees of $605 in the coming academic year, up from $585 last year. The largest increase will be in Manitoba, followed by Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

Additional compulsory fees will decline in British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3123.

Information is also available on the cost of accommodation on campus.

For general information or to order data, contact Client Services (1-800-307-3382; 613-951-7608;; fax: 613-951-9040, Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics.

Average undergraduate tuition fees
  1990/91 2000/01 2004/05 2005/06 1990/91 to 2005/06 2000/01 to 2005/06 2004/05 to 2005/06
  Current $ % change
Canada 1,464 3,447 4,140 4,214 187.8 22.2 1.8
Newfoundland and Labrador 1,344 3,373 2,606 2,606 93.9 -22.7 0.0
Prince Edward Island 1,874 3,499 4,374 4,645 147.9 32.8 6.2
Nova Scotia 1,941 4,631 6,003 6,281 223.6 35.6 4.6
New Brunswick 1,925 3,585 4,719 5,037 161.7 40.5 6.7
Quebec 904 1,819 1,888 1,900 110.2 4.5 0.7
Ontario 1,680 4,256 4,831 4,881 190.5 14.7 1.0
Manitoba 1,512 3,219 3,236 3,272 116.4 1.7 1.1
Saskatchewan 1,545 3,668 5,062 5,062 227.7 38.0 0.0
Alberta 1,286 3,907 4,940 5,125 298.4 31.2 3.8
British Columbia 1,808 2,592 4,735 4,874 169.5 88.0 2.9

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