University tuition fees, 2014/2015
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Canadian full-time students in undergraduate programs paid 3.3% more on average in tuition fees for the 2014/2015 academic year this fall than they did the previous year. A similar increase was observed in 2013/2014.
In comparison, inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index was 2.1% between July 2013 and July 2014 and 1.3% between July 2012 and July 2013.
On average, undergraduate students paid $5,959 in tuition fees in 2014/2015 compared with $5,767 a year earlier.
Tuition fees rose in all but one province, Newfoundland and Labrador, where tuition fees for undergraduate and graduate students have been frozen since 2003/2004.
Elsewhere, for undergraduate students, tuition fee increases ranged from 1.0% in Alberta to 4.0% in Saskatchewan.
Undergraduates in Newfoundland and Labrador ($2,631) and Quebec ($2,743) continued to pay the lowest average tuition fees.
In comparison, undergraduate students in Ontario ($7,539) paid the highest average tuition fees in Canada, followed by students in Saskatchewan ($6,659).
Canadian undergraduates in dentistry, medicine and pharmacy continue to pay highest average tuition fees
Undergraduate students in dentistry ($18,187) paid the highest average tuition fees in 2014/2015 as was the case for the previous years. They were followed by students in medicine ($12,959) and pharmacy ($11,173). These three programs saw some of the highest percentage tuition fee increases: dentistry (+4.6%), pharmacy (+4.5%) and medicine (+3.9%).
All undergraduate programs saw increases, ranging from 2.6% for education to 4.7% for law, legal professions and studies.
Tuition fee increases are lower for Canadian graduate students than undergraduates
Students enrolled in a graduate program paid an average of $6,210 in tuition fees in 2014/2015, up 2.8%. This followed a 2.3% gain a year earlier.
Tuition fees for graduate students rose in every province except Newfoundland and Labrador, where tuition fees have been frozen since 2003/2004, and Prince Edward Island. Increases ranged from 1.1% in Alberta to 5.2% in Saskatchewan. As was the case with undergraduate students, the lowest average tuition fees for graduate students were in Newfoundland and Labrador ($2,506) and Quebec ($2,821).
Graduate students paid the highest tuition fees in Ontario ($8,738), followed by students in Nova Scotia ($8,222) and British Columbia ($7,706).
Masters of business administration remain the most expensive graduate programs, followed by dentistry
At the graduate level, the most expensive programs in 2014/2015 remained the executive master of business administration program with average tuition fees of $39,862 and the regular master of business administration program at $27,173. They were followed by dentistry with average tuition costs of $12,044.
Similar to undergraduate programs, tuition fees rose for all graduate programs, with increases ranging from 1.4% in pharmacy to 4.5% in business management and public administration.
International student tuition fees
Nationally, average tuition fees for international undergraduate students rose 5.3% to $20,447 in 2014/2015, following a 6.8% increase in 2013/2014.
The only province not to experience an increase was Newfoundland and Labrador, where the tuition fee freeze included international students. In the other provinces, fee increases for international undergraduate students ranged from 2.1% in Prince Edward Island to 6.9% in Ontario. For international graduate students, increases ranged from 1.0% in Alberta to 7.7% in Saskatchewan.
Average tuition for international full-time students in graduate programs rose 3.3% to $13,934.
Additional compulsory fees
Services included in additional compulsory fees vary from institution to institution and can change over time. Typically, they include fees for athletics, student health services, student associations as well as other fees that apply to full-time Canadian students.
Nationally, additional compulsory fees for Canadian undergraduate students increased 2.8% in 2014/2015 compared with the previous year. On average, these students paid $821 in additional compulsory fees, up from $799 a year earlier.
In 2014/2015, additional compulsory fees for undergraduate students ranged from $226 in Newfoundland and Labrador to $1,069 in Alberta. The same two provinces also posted the lowest and the highest additional compulsory fees for graduate students, with students paying $279 in Newfoundland and Labrador and $1,333 in Alberta. At the national level for graduate students, the increase was 2.3%.
Saskatchewan posted the highest increase in additional compulsory fees for undergraduate students, up 14.5% to $394. For graduate students, the largest increase was in Nova Scotia (up 7.5% to $692), followed by Alberta (up 4.5% to $1,069).
Since 2010/2011, partial compulsory fees such as health plan and dental plan fees, which students can choose not to pay if they provide proof of comparable coverage, have not been included in calculating the weighted average for compulsory fees.
Weighted average undergraduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students, by field of study
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 April to July 2014 and the data cover the 2014/2015 academic year.
Data for 2014/2015 are preliminary. Any required changes will be applied for the 2015/2016 data release, when the 2014/2015 data become final.
It is important to note that tuition fee increases are generally regulated by provincial policies. However, some programs may be exempted from these policies, resulting in possible increases that exceed provincial limits.
The national and provincial tuition fee averages are weighted with 2011 student enrolments. 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 weighting both years (2013/2014 and 2014/2015), thereby permitting comparison of changes in the tuition fees only.
The masters of business administration programs have been excluded from the national and provincial weighted averages to eliminate the effect 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.
As of 1998/1999, Quebec weighted averages include the tuition fees paid by "in-province" and "out-of-province" Canadian students. As of 2007/2008, Nova Scotia weighted averages include the different fees paid by in-province and out-of-province Canadian students. In the other provinces, out-of-province Canadian students and in-province Canadian students pay the same tuition fees.
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.
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