University tuition fees, 2012/2013

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Canadian full-time students in undergraduate programs paid 5.0% more on average in tuition fees for the 2012/2013 academic year this fall than they did a year earlier. This follows a 4.3% increase in 2011/2012.

In comparison, inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index was 1.3% between July 2011 and July 2012.

On average, undergraduate students paid $5,581 in tuition fees in 2012/2013 compared with $5,313 a year earlier.

Tuition fees rose in all but one province, Newfoundland and Labrador, where they have been frozen since 2003/2004 for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Elsewhere, for undergraduate students, tuition increases ranged from 2.0% in British Columbia to 10.1% in Quebec.

Undergrads in Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec continued to have the lowest average fees. With this year's increase, tuition fees in Quebec ($2,774) exceeded those in Newfoundland and Labrador ($2,649).

In comparison, on average, undergraduate students in Ontario paid the highest fees ($7,180) in Canada, followed by students in Saskatchewan who paid $6,017 in university tuition fees.

Canadian undergraduates: Dentistry students still pay highest average fees

Undergraduate students in dentistry ($16,910) paid the highest average undergraduate fees in 2012/2013, as was the case for the previous years. They were followed by students in medicine ($11,891) and pharmacy ($10,297).

All undergraduate programs saw increases, ranging from 2.7% in agriculture, natural resources and conservation to 6.8% in business, management and public administration.

Fees for Canadian graduate students rise at a slower rate

Students enrolled in a graduate program paid an average of $5,695 in tuition fees in 2012/2013, up 4.5%, following a 3.7% advance a year earlier. The increase for undergraduate students was 5.0%.

Fees for graduate students rose in every province except Newfoundland and Labrador. Increases ranged from 1.5% in Alberta to 9.2% in Quebec. As was the case with undergraduate students, the lowest average fees for graduate students were in Newfoundland and Labrador ($2,456) and Quebec ($2,969).

Graduate students paid the highest fees in Ontario ($8,041), followed by students in Nova Scotia ($7,613) and British Columbia ($7,593).

Master of business administration programs most expensive

At the graduate level, the most expensive programs remained the executive master of business administration (MBA) with tuition fees of $38,508, and the regular MBA program, at $23,757.

Similar to undergraduate programs, tuition fees rose for all graduate programs, with increases ranging from 2.2% in business, management and public administration to 5.9% for law, legal professions and studies.

Fees for international students increase

Nationally, average tuition fees for international undergraduate students rose 5.5% to $18,641 in 2012/2013, compared with a 4.3% increase in 2011/2012.

As was the case for Canadian students, tuition fees for international students in Newfoundland and Labrador did not increase. In the other provinces, fee increases for international undergraduate students ranged from 2.4% in Alberta to 8.8% in Ontario. For international graduate students, increases ranged from 0.9% in British Columbia to 11.2% in Saskatchewan.

Average tuition for international full-time students in graduate programs rose 2.6% to $13,163.

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 and student associations, as well as other fees that apply to full-time Canadian students.

Nationally, additional compulsory fees for Canadian undergraduate students increased 3.3% in 2012/2013 compared with the previous year. On average, these students paid $750 in additional compulsory fees, up from $726 a year earlier.

In 2012/2013, additional compulsory fees for undergraduate students ranged from $218 in Newfoundland and Labrador to $911 in Alberta. For the same provinces, compulsory fees for graduate students ranged from $242 to $1,239, respectively. At the national level for graduates student the increase was 4.9%.

Saskatchewan posted the highest increase in additional compulsory fees for undergraduate students (+16.5% to $466). For graduate students, the highest increase was also in Saskatchewan (+10.4% to $254), with Alberta following at 9.1%.

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.

Note to readers

Data for 2012-2013 are subject to revision. Any required changes will be applied for the 2013/2014 data release, when the 2012/2013 data become final.

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 2012 and the data cover the 2012/2013 academic year.

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 student enrolments, 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 (2011/2012 and 2012/2013), 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 affect 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, since 1998/1999, 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. In the other provinces, out-of-province Canadian students and in-province Canadian students pay the same 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.

Available without charge in CANSIM: tables CANSIM table477-0021 to 477-0024.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number survey number3123.

For more information, or to enquire about concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 613-951-8116; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or the Media Hotline (613-951-4636; mediahotline@statcan.gc.ca).