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University Tuition in Canada is Up?

No Kidding Sherlock?

Sorry, but Stats Canada’s report about spiraling tuition fees at Canadian Universities pretty much made me say that out loud (causing my wife to ask, “What the hell?”). These numbers may be a bit dated, but it illustrates how quickly the price of University keeps going up.

The report starts out with some obvious stats for those who are paying fees, which is:

Canadian full-time students in undergraduate programs paid 4.3% more on average in tuition fees for the 2011/2012 academic year this fall than they did a year earlier. This follows a 4.0% increase in 2010/2011.

Note that is at least double inflation rates at that time (if not triple), which is astounding, but that is not the part of the report that I have a big problem with, the following is what floored me:

On average, undergraduate students paid $5,366 in tuition fees in 2011/2012 compared with $5,146 a year earlier.

Without the caveat, tuition fees all over the country vascilate wildly province to province, this creates a false sense of security for some folks. What do I mean by wild vascilations, well, luckily later in the report they include the following very useful table:

Average undergraduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students, by province

2010/2011r 2011/2012p 2010/2011 to 2011/2012
current dollars % change
Canada 5,146 5,366 4.3
Newfoundland and Labrador 2,649 2,649 0.0
Prince Edward Island 5,131 5,258 2.5
Nova Scotia 5,497 5,731 4.3
New Brunswick 5,647 5,853 3.6
Quebec 2,411 2,519 4.5
Ontario 6,316 6,640 5.1
Manitoba 3,593 3,645 1.4
Saskatchewan 5,431 5,601 3.1
Alberta 5,505 5,662 2.9
British Columbia 4,758 4,852 2.0

Note the large differences across the country, and frankly the Ontario fees seem a little low given what I know about Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo (there must be some bargain Universities I am unaware of). Nova Scotia’s rate is again much lower than Acadia’s actual fee schedule too (again, luckily other schools seem to regulate the fee schedules). The other thing mentioned are the many added on fees that the Universities slide in (these are from actual Universities):

  • Campus beautification
  • Medical Plan
  • Dental Plan
  • Wellness Facilities Fees
  • Technology Fees
  • etc., etc., etc.,

These folks seem to be cribbing from the Airline industry for incidental fee charges. The stats can folks point out:

Nationally, additional compulsory fees for Canadian undergraduate students increased 5.5% in 2011/2012 compared with the previous year. On average, these students paid $820 in additional compulsory fees, up from $777 a year earlier.

Amazing eh? So if you are planning your child’s post secondary life, keep this in mind, and also remember that the growth on Tuition fees and incidental fees are not included in Inflation numbers, and are not regulated (much) by the provinces either (so expect this to be much higher very soon).

Feel Free to Comment

  1. Great idea. Let’s see, I’ll add on to this comment an extra wireless fee (because I am typing on a wireless keyboard – that’s got to be worth an extra fee), and also a time charge. This comment will have taken me one and a half minutes to type by the time I am through, so I really should charge extra for my time.

    If airlines and hotels and now universities can do it, why not blog commenters? I love this add-on fee business.

  2. Interesting! I’m glad that part of my life is over (for now), but I have a feeling I’d better start saving for my kids’ education now — even though I don’t have any! 🙂

  3. Interesting. Does the report only look at average tuition or does it compare like degrees? For instance, is BA tuition the same across the country, or how does it differ?

    Also, do pricy programs like science, engineering, computers and business skew the averages? On that last point, consider that a computers degree at UW costs 2-3 times as much as an Arts degree. Does Newfoundland even offer these expensive programs?

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