TORONTO – The price of tuition in Canada continues to rise, according to new data from Statistics Canada.
On Thursday, StatsCan released average tuition fee figures for Canadian full-time students. The data shows that for the 2014/2015 academic year, fees rose by 3.3 per cent on average compared to the previous school year.
Undergraduate students paid $5,959 in tuition fees on average, compared to $5,767 the previous year.
The agency stated that tuition fees went up in all but one province, Newfoundland and Labrador. Fees in that province have been frozen since the 2003/2004 school year, as part of a higher education affordability program. Students in the province continue to pay the lowest tuition fees in the country, on average $2,631 for the 2014/2015 school year.
Undergraduate students in Ontario pay the highest tuition fees at $7,539 on average, with students in Saskatchewan paying the second highest at $6,659. Saskatchewan saw the biggest increase in fees compared to last year, jumping four per cent.
Tuition fees, of course, aren’t the only costs students have to budget for. StatsCan said additional compulsory fees also increased nationally by 2.8 per cent. These fees include things like athletic fees, health services, student association fees and other costs; these vary depending on the institution.
The StatsCan data comes on the heels of a report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) that projects annual fees at Canadian universities to rise 13 per cent over the next four years.
The report was met with some criticism, however, with politicians saying the report doesn’t take into account grants, assistance programs and tax credits.
On Wednesday, Ontario’s minister of training, colleges and universities, MPP Reza Moridi, said the CCPA report only showed the gross price of post-secondary education and that when you look at the net tuition, Ontario actually has one of the lowest averages in the country.
According to the Council of Ontario Universities, in the 2012-2013 school year Ontario universities provided more than $800 million to students in the form of non-repayable scholarships and bursaries.
The Ontario government also provides a “30 per cent off” tuition rebate for students with family incomes below $160,000. The program is open to full-time students attending college or university who have been approved for OSAP, and fall within certain restrictions. The rebate tops out at $1,780 for university and college degrees and $820 for college diplomas or certificates.