Just how much is tuition increasing?
Mention the words ‘tuition fees’ to any university student in Canada and you will likely spark a passionate debate over the ever-increasing costs of going to school. While the upward trend may be familiar, the actual statistics may be somewhat surprising.
According to Student Financial Services, tuition and fees are calculated based on “the selection of academic program, course load, cohort year, citizenship, room and meal plan selection and parking if required.” These fees are apt to change every year and regularly do so.
Since 2006, the “Reaching Higher Framework” brought forth by the provincial government has allowed tuition fees to increase every year. At the University of Guelph, the Board of Governors have opted to increase student fees between three and five per cent annually. This amounts to an extra $150 to $300 increase in tuition for most students.
In the 2011 to 2012 academic year, a full-time Canadian undergraduate student paid an average of $6,541 for one year of study in the College of Arts or the College of Biological Sciences. In 2012 to 2013, the cost rose to $6,714. In 2013 to 2014, the average student will have paid $6,913 for one year of study. These figures change slightly depending on major of study and cohort year, but the upward trend remains consistent.
A typical full-time Canadian graduate student paid $5,627 in the 2011 to 2012 academic year. In 2012 to 2013, the cost rose to $5,782, and in 2013 to 2014 the average student will have paid $5,898. These figures represent students in a GDIP, Master’s or PhD program. For international students, the cost of education follows the same trend but finds students paying up to three times more for each year of study.
On average, these figures represent a $200 increase in fees per year, and this has been the case since 2006.
Accompanied by the expense of textbooks, residence, a meal plan, and extras, the average student is expected to spend over $20,000 a year on their education at the University of Guelph. It is no doubt then that the steady rise in tuition fees leaves many students with a sense of unease at the prospect of a debt-filled future.
There are groups attempting to curb this trend. The Guelph Student Mobilization Committee, supported by the Central Student Association, held two “Freeze the Fees” rallies at the university in January and April of 2013.
The goal of the event was to convince the University of Guelph to freeze tuition fees in defiance of the provincial governments decision to dramatically raise tuition over the next four years. The committee gathered over 2000 signatures on a petition, but has since made no impact on reducing rising tuition costs.
If the precedent is any indication of the future, U of G students can expect similar increases in tuition for many years to come.