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Tuition fees for degree programs, 2016/2017

Released: 2016-09-07

Canadian full-time students in undergraduate programs paid, on average, $6,373 in tuition fees for the 2016/2017 academic year, 2.8% higher than the 2015/2016 average ($6,201). This increase was smaller than the 3.2% rise in tuition fees recorded in 2015/2016.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Weighted average undergraduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students, by province, 2016/2017
Weighted average undergraduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students, by province, 2016/2017

Undergraduate tuition fees for 2016/2017 remained frozen in Newfoundland and Labrador, but rose in the other provinces, with increases ranging from 0.2% in Alberta to 5.6% in Nova Scotia.

Undergraduates in Newfoundland and Labrador ($2,759) and Quebec ($2,851) continued to pay the lowest average tuition fees in Canada. Undergraduate students in Ontario ($8,114) paid the highest average tuition fees in 2016/2017, followed by undergraduates in Nova Scotia ($7,218) and Saskatchewan ($7,177).

Undergraduate students in dentistry, medicine, law and pharmacy pay the highest average tuition fees

Canadian undergraduate students in dentistry ($21,012) continued to pay the highest average tuition fees in 2016/2017. The next highest were fees for medicine ($13,858), law ($11,385) and pharmacy ($9,738).

Chart 2  Chart 2: Weighted average undergraduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students, by field of study, 2016/2017
Weighted average undergraduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students, by field of study, 2016/2017

Tuition fees for all other undergraduate programs ranged from $4,580 in education to $7,825 in engineering.

All undergraduate program tuition fees increased, except those for pharmacy programs, which fell 18.4% in 2016/2017. This decrease resulted from changes in the structure of and fees for pharmacy programs offered in Ontario.

Tuition fee increases lower for graduate students

Canadian students enrolled in a graduate program paid an average of $6,703 in tuition fees in 2016/2017, up 2.5% from the previous academic year. This followed a 2.2% increase a year earlier.

Tuition fees for graduate students rose in every province, with increases ranging from 0.1% in Alberta to 10.4% in Newfoundland and Labrador. As was the case with undergraduate students, the lowest average tuition fees for graduate students were in Newfoundland and Labrador ($2,733) and Quebec ($2,904).

Graduate students paid the highest average tuition fees in Ontario ($9,416), followed by Nova Scotia ($8,763) and British Columbia ($8,557).

Masters of business administration programs remain the most expensive

At the graduate level, the most expensive programs in 2016/2017 remained the executive and regular masters of business administration (MBA) programs. Average tuition for an executive MBA was $48,626; the fee for a regular MBA averaged $27,574.

Most provincial average tuition fees for executive MBA programs were lower than the national average. Ontario executive MBA students paid average tuition fees of $93,998, which raised the executive MBA average at the Canada level.

Dentistry had the third-highest average tuition fees for graduate programs at $12,691.

Tuition fees rose for all graduate programs, with increases ranging from 1.1% for pharmacy programs to 4.5% for architecture and related technologies.

Map 1  Thumbnail for map 1: Undergraduate tuition fees, Canadian full-time students, selected census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations, 2016/2017
Undergraduate tuition fees, Canadian full-time students, selected census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations, 2016/2017

Tuition fees by municipality

A map and data table have been created to provide 2016/2017 tuition fee averages for Canadian undergraduate students in selected census metropolitan areas, census agglomerations and census subdivisions. These data products provide greater detail at a sub-provincial level.

The new data show how tuition fees for these municipalities vary within a province and across provinces. These data also allow comparisons of tuition fee averages for any one field of study. For example, a selection of four municipalities with educational institutions that offer "mathematics, computer and information sciences" shows the following variation in tuition fees: $2,525 in Sherbrooke, $5,315 in Calgary, $7,066 in Halifax and $10,142 in Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo.

Additional compulsory fees for Canadian students continue to increase

Additional compulsory fees vary from institution to institution and can change over time. They represent the fees that all Canadian students must pay regardless of field of study. Typically, they include fees for athletics, student health services and student associations.

Nationally, additional compulsory fees for Canadian undergraduate students increased 2.9% in 2016/2017 compared with the previous year. On average, these students paid $873 in additional compulsory fees. For graduate students, average additional compulsory fees increased 3.1% to $826.

Smaller increase in tuition fees for international students

Nationally, average tuition fees for international undergraduate students rose 5.6% to $23,589 in 2016/2017, following a 6.5% increase in 2015/2016.

Newfoundland and Labrador was the only province with no tuition fee rise for international undergraduate students, as its tuition freeze included fees for these students. In the other provinces, tuition fee increases for international students in undergraduate programs ranged from 1.2% in Manitoba to 7.7% in Ontario.

Average tuition fees for international students in graduate programs rose 3.4% to $15,009, with increases ranging from 1.0% in Alberta to 12.8% in Newfoundland and Labrador.





  Note to readers

Data presented in this release are from the annual survey of Tuition and Living Accommodation Costs. The survey covers all public degree-granting institutions (universities and colleges) in Canada, that is, those that offer programs leading to degrees as defined by the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials: bachelor's degrees, applied (bachelor's) degrees, applied master's degrees, master's degrees and doctoral degrees. These degrees are more commonly offered by universities, but may also be offered by colleges. Canadian students, including Canadian citizens and permanent residents, are reported separately from international students.

The survey was administered from April to July 2016 and data cover the 2016/2017 academic year. Data for 2016/2017 are preliminary. Any required changes will be applied to the 2017/2018 data release, when the 2016/2017 data become final.

Although tuition fee increases are generally regulated by provincial policies, some programs may be exempt from these policies, resulting in possible rises that exceed provincial limits. Tuition fee averages may vary from year to year because of changes in the structure of and fees for programs.

National and provincial tuition fee averages are weighted with 2013 student enrolments. If the number of enrolments for a given program is unknown, that program is excluded from the averages. The same student enrolment figures are used for weighting both academic years (2015/2016 and 2016/2017), thereby allowing a comparison of changes in tuition fees.

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 averages. 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, weighted averages for Quebec include the different tuition fees paid by in-province and out-of-province Canadian students. As of 2007/2008, weighted averages for Nova Scotia include the different tuition 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 enrolments 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.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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