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University tuition fees

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The Daily

Friday, September 1, 2006

Overall, students returning to Canadian universities for undergraduate studies this fall will face greater increases in tuition than last year.

Students can expect to pay on average 3.2% more in tuition fees, almost twice the rate of growth in the previous academic year.

Undergraduate students will pay an average of $4,347 in tuition fees for the 2006/2007 academic year, up from $4,211 the year before. This is almost triple the average of $1,464 in 1990/1991.

Since 1990/1991, tuition fees have increased at an annual average rate of 7.0%. In the 1990/1991 and 1991/1992 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 3.9%. The recent lower fee increases reflect government moves to regulate fees.

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Even so, average tuition fees between 1990/1991 and 2004/2005 increased at a faster pace than inflation. During this period, tuition rose at an average annual rate of 7.7%. This was almost four times the average rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

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.

Tuition fees up in six provinces

Tuition fees are rising in six provinces for the coming academic year, although in Quebec the increase is less than 1%. Fees will remain virtually unchanged in Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

The biggest increases will be in Prince Edward Island, where tuition will rise 6.5%, New Brunswick, where the increase will be 5.8% and Ontario, where the increase will be 4.6%.

Tuition fees in three provinces will be below the national average: 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 for Quebec residents 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 $6,571, a 3.9% increase.

Nationally, tuition fees this fall are 21.5% higher than they were in 2001/2002. In British Columbia, fees doubled during this five-year period but declined 14.1% in Newfoundland and Labrador.

British Columbia lifted a six-year tuition freeze in 2002/2003, after which there were three years of double-digit increases. However, the rate of increase has slowed over the last two years, with tuition fees rising by 2.8% last year and 1.9% this year.

Compared with the 1990/1991 academic year, tuition fees have doubled, and in some cases have more than tripled, with the greatest increases in Alberta, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.

Tuition fees in professional fields still highest

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

Students in architecture will pay $3,805 in tuition on average, up 5.4% from the previous year. Those in commerce will see a 4.8% rise to an average of $3,989. The most expensive program remains dentistry, with an average fee of $13,463, followed by medicine where the fee will be $10,553.

Law students, who have traditionally faced the biggest increase in tuition, can expect to pay 4.6% more this fall. In the past five years, tuition fees for law have risen 65.4%, the highest increase of all faculties.

All professional fields have seen large increases in tuition since 2001/2002. Whereas average undergraduate fees increased 21.5%, fees in law, medicine and dentistry have increased by 65.4%, 47.5% and 41.5% respectively.

Average tuition fees by faculty
  2005/2006 2006/2007 2005/2006 to 2006/2007
  current dollars % change
Agriculture 3,643 3,712 1.9
Architecture 3,610 3,805 5.4
Arts 3,982 4,104 3.1
Commerce 3,806 3,989 4.8
Dentistry 13,033 13,463 3.3
Education 3,277 3,334 1.8
Engineering 4,740 4,887 3.1
Household sciences 3,914 4,037 3.1
Law 6,904 7,221 4.6
Medicine 10,318 10,553 2.3
Music 3,936 4,092 3.9
Science 4,219 4,353 3.2
Undergraduate 4,211 4,347 3.2
Graduate 6,134 6,479 5.6

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 5.6% more when they return to school, almost twice the change for undergrads. On average, graduate students this fall will pay $6,479.

Graduate fees are rising in seven provinces for the coming academic year, with the largest increase in Nova Scotia (+20.0%). Graduate fees are unchanged in Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, and Alberta.

Since 2001/2002, graduate fees have increased 44.1%. Over that period, graduate fees went up in eight provinces, led by British Columbia (+184.4%) and Alberta (+77.1%). In Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, graduate fees have fallen since 2001/2002.

International students will also pay more

International students also face increases in tuition. Nationally, international students will pay 4.1% higher fees this fall compared with the previous academic year.

At the undergraduate level, average tuition fees for international students will increase 5.2% to $13,205, just over three times the fees Canadian students pay.

Tuition fees for international students have risen in all provinces, except Saskatchewan, ranging from a high of 16.4% in Manitoba and 9.8% in Alberta to a low of 2.1% in British Columbia and 2.5% in Quebec.

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 full-time Canadian students.

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

Additional compulsory fees for undergraduates make up 12.5% of the total fees a student is required to pay to the institution. Nationally, additional fees this fall will rise 4.0% over last year.

On average, undergraduates will pay additional compulsory fees of $619 in the coming academic year, up from $595 last year.

The highest additional compulsory fees are in Ontario and Prince Edward Island, whereas the lowest are in New Brunswick.

The largest increase in additional compulsory fees is in Manitoba, with the next highest increase in Prince Edward Island.

Additional compulsory fees will decline in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3123.

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

For general information, to order data, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-800-307-3382; 613-951-7608; fax: 613-951-9040;, Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics Division.

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