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University tuition fees

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2010/2011 (Previous release)

Canadian full-time students in undergraduate programs this fall paid 4.0% more on average in tuition fees for the 2010/2011 academic year than they did a year earlier. This increase is slightly higher than the one for 2009/2010, when tuition fees rose 3.6%.

On average, undergraduate students paid $5,138 in tuition fees in 2010/2011 compared with $4,942 a year earlier.

In comparison, inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index increased 1.8% between July 2009 and July 2010.

As was the case in 2009/2010, tuition fees rose in all but three provinces. Fees remained unchanged in Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick, while, for a third year in a row, fees declined in Nova Scotia (-4.5%). Elsewhere, tuition fee increases ranged from 1.5% in Alberta to 5.4% in Ontario.

On average, undergraduate students in Ontario paid the highest fees ($6,307) in Canada, followed by students in New Brunswick who paid average university tuition fees of $5,516.

Undergrads in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador continued to have the lowest tuition fees, averaging $2,415 and $2,624 respectively.

Canadian graduate students face greater increase than undergrads

At the national level, graduate students faced larger tuition fee increases than did undergraduate students.

On average, they paid 6.6% more than in 2009/2010, compared with an increase of 4.0% for undergraduate students. Graduate students paid an average of $5,182 in tuition fees for the current year, which is slightly more than the amount paid by undergraduate students.

Fees for graduate students were up in six provinces. Increases ranged from 1.6% in Alberta to 10.6% in Ontario. In contrast, fees were down in four provinces, with decreases varying from a decline of 0.1% in Newfoundland and Labrador to a drop of 4.6% in Nova Scotia. Graduate students in Nova Scotia paid the highest fees ($7,350), followed by students in Ontario and British Columbia, who paid $6,917 and $6,353 respectively.

Canadian undergraduates: Dentistry students still pay highest average fees

As was the case for the two previous years, undergraduate students in dentistry paid the highest average undergraduate fees ($14,701) in 2010/2011. They were followed by students in medicine ($10,244) and pharmacy ($9,250).

Undergraduate students in architecture and related services experienced the largest increase (+6.5%), paying $5,140 for the current year. Law and legal professions and studies programs followed with a 5.7% rise, while increases in other fields ranged from 2.0% for agriculture, natural resources and conservation to 5.6% for dentistry.

Note to readers

Data presented in this release are from the survey of Tuition and Living Accommodation Costs for Full-time Students at Canadian Degree-Granting Institutions. The survey was administered from May to June 2010 and the data cover the 2010/2011 academic year.

The provincial averages are weighted with the latest related enrolments available, which are 2008 in this case. If the number of enrolments is unknown for a given program, the program is excluded from the averages. The same student enrolment figures are used for the weighting of both years 2009/2010 and 2010/2011, thereby permitting comparison of changes in the tuition fees only. Starting this year, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs have been excluded from the national and provincial weighted averages to eliminate the impact of the high cost of these programs on the overall tuition fee average.

Dental, medical and veterinary residency programs offered in teaching hospitals and similar locations that may lead to advanced professional certification have also been excluded.

For Quebec, for the last 10 years, and for Nova Scotia, since 2007/2008, the weighted averages take into account the different fees paid by "in province" and "out of province" students.

It is important to note that tuition fee increases are generally regulated by provincial policies.

As the distribution of enrolment across the various programs varies from period to period, caution must be exercised when making long-term historical comparisons.

Data in this release do not take into account financial assistance or tax rebates provided to students. Tuition fees and additional compulsory fees represent only a portion of all costs incurred for attending university.

MBA programs are the most expensive among graduate programs

At the graduate level, the most expensive programs were the executive Master of Business Administration (MBA), with tuition fees of $28,773, and the regular MBA program, at $21,118.

Among all programs for graduate students, veterinary medicine (+2.3%) was the one with the smallest increase from 2009/2010 to 2010/2011, followed by education (+2.8%).

The largest increases were recorded in dentistry (+34.8%) and other health, parks, leisure and fitness (+28.5%)

International students paying more

Nationally, the average tuition fees for foreign undergraduate students was $16,768 in 2010/2011, an increase of 5.2% over the previous year.

Nationally, this increase in tuition fees for foreign undergraduate students was smaller than that of the previous year (+7.1%), and changes in tuition fees ranged from a decrease of 0.3% in Nova Scotia to a rise of 9.5% in Saskatchewan.

International full-time students in graduate programs faced an average fee increase of 5.9% in 2010/2011, paying $12,368. While fees increased in most provinces, they edged down (-0.1%) for international students in New Brunswick and remained unchanged in Newfoundland and Labrador.

International full-time students in graduate programs faced the highest increases in Saskatchewan (+25.2%) and Quebec (+10.3%).

Additional compulsory fees on the rise

The bundle of services included in additional compulsory fees varies from one institution to the next and can change over time. Typically, it includes fees for athletics, student health services, student associations, as well as other fees that apply to full-time Canadian students.

Starting this year, "partial" compulsory fees such as health plan and dental plan fees that students can choose not to pay if they provide proof of comparable coverage are not included in the calculation of the weighted average for compulsory fees.

Nationally, additional compulsory fees for Canadian undergraduate students increased 7.0% in 2010/2011 compared with the previous year. On average, these students paid $702 in additional compulsory fees in 2010/2011, up from $656 a year earlier.

In 2010/2011, additional compulsory fees for undergraduate students ranged from $407 in New Brunswick to $818 in Alberta. Compulsory fees for graduate students ranged from $234 in Saskatchewan to $984 in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Alberta posted the largest increase in additional compulsory fees for both undergraduate (+$183 or +28.8%) and graduate (+$166 or +24.4%) students. In contrast, compulsory fees decreased in two provinces: New Brunswick (-0.7%) and British Columbia (-12.0%).

Additional compulsory fees are generally excluded from fee regulations and are normally determined in part by provincial departments, institutions and student organizations.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3123.

For more 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: 613-951-4441;, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics Division.

Table 1

Average undergraduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students, by province
  2009/2010 2010/2011 2009/2010 to 2010/2011
  $ current % change
Canada 4,942 5,138 4.0
Newfoundland and Labrador 2,624 2,624 0.0
Prince Edward Island 4,969 5,131 3.3
Nova Scotia 5,752 5,495 -4.5
New Brunswick 5,516 5,516 0.0
Quebec 2,309 2,415 4.6
Ontario 5,985 6,307 5.4
Manitoba 3,408 3,588 5.3
Saskatchewan 5,173 5,431 5.0
Alberta 5,240 5,318 1.5
British Columbia 4,706 4,802 2.0

Table 2

Average graduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students, by province
  2009/2010 2010/2011 2009/2010 to 2010/2011
  $ current % change
Canada 4,860 5,182 6.6
Newfoundland and Labrador 2,458 2,456 -0.1
Prince Edward Island 4,091 3,913 -4.4
Nova Scotia 7,701 7,350 -4.6
New Brunswick 5,074 5,034 -0.8
Quebec 2,443 2,600 6.4
Ontario 6,256 6,917 10.6
Manitoba 3,936 4,132 5.0
Saskatchewan 3,127 3,271 4.6
Alberta 4,597 4,672 1.6
British Columbia 6,230 6,353 2.0

Table 3

Average undergraduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students, by discipline
  2009/2010 2010/2011 2009/2010 to 2010/2011
  $ current % change
Agriculture, natural resources and conservation 4,697 4,791 2.0
Architecture and related services 4,826 5,140 6.5
Humanities 4,525 4,660 3.0
Business, management and public administration 5,191 5,422 4.5
Education 3,739 3,859 3.2
Engineering 5,577 5,881 5.5
Law 8,229 8,697 5.7
Medicine 9,815 10,244 4.4
Visual and performing arts, and communications technologies 4,592 4,768 3.8
Physical and life sciences and technology 4,885 5,041 3.2
Mathematics, computer and information science 5,299 5,550 4.7
Social and behavioural science 4,431 4,590 3.6
Other health, parks, recreation and fitness 4,477 4,715 5.3
Dentistry 13,917 14,701 5.6
Nursing 4,558 4,679 2.7
Pharmacy 8,783 9,250 5.3
Veterinary medicine 5,358 5,611 4.7

Table 4

Average graduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students, by discipline
  2009/2010 2010/2011 2009/2010 to 2010/2011
  $ current % change
Agriculture, natural resources and conservation 4,636 4,773 3.0
Architecture and related services 4,672 4,834 3.5
Humanities 3,979 4,197 5.5
Business, management and public administration 6,175 6,417 3.9
Regular Master of Business Administration 19,727 21,118 7.1
Executive Master of Business Administration 27,963 28,773 2.9
Education 4,410 4,533 2.8
Engineering 5,312 5,505 3.6
Law 4,477 4,633 3.5
Medicine .. .. ..
Visual and performing arts, and communications technologies 4,562 4,806 5.3
Physical and life sciences and technology 5,239 5,432 3.7
Mathematics, computer and information science 5,488 5,670 3.3
Social and behavioural science 4,109 4,267 3.8
Other health, parks, recreation and fitness 5,430 6,976 28.5
Dentistry 3,218 4,337 34.8
Nursing 4,925 5,107 3.7
Pharmacy 5,247 5,411 3.1
Veterinary medicine 3,357 3,435 2.3
not available for a specific reference period