So, what does it really cost to go to university? Well, that depends on where you want to study. On average, tuition for the typical undergraduate program rose 111 per cent, in constant dollars, between 1990-1991 and 2004-2005. This year brought some relief: fees increased, on average, by 1.8 per cent— less than inflation and the smallest hike in more than a quarter century. Still, fees vary enormously across the country. Tuition in Nova Scotia, already the highest in Canada, rose a further 4.6 per cent. Neighbouring New Brunswick implemented the largest percentage increase, at 6.7 per cent, and P.E.I. came second, at 6.2 per cent.
Many provinces took the opposite tack. After three years of double-digit increases, British Columbia limited its fee increases to just 2.9 per cent. Meanwhile, debt-free Alberta announced a rebate on the annual tuition hikes, and Saskatchewan froze tuition. Fees also remained relatively steady in Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland, although students in the Prairie province were miffed when ancillary fees were boosted by a whopping 25 per cent.
And then there’s Quebec, where fees have been frozen since 1994—at least for those who are residents of the province. And thanks to a series of international agreements with a wide variety of countries, students from such countries as Senegal, China and Morocco are eligible to get the same deal. No such luck for students from elsewhere in Canada: for them, tuition continues to rise.
All fees in the accompanying chart are for undergraduate arts and science programs as of September 2005. The names of several universities appear twice: Quebec institutions where out-of-province fees apply, and universities where there are different fees for arts programs and science programs.
Compulsory ancillary fees include student health-plan fees. If studenst are covered by another insurance plan, they can opt out of most health plans, which range in cost from $34 to $366.05.
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