What an Education Costs

University Tuition Fees

While inflation was 2.7% between July 2010 and July 2011, Canadian full-time students in undergraduate programs paid 4.3% more (on average) in tuition fees for the 2011/2012 academic year. This follows a 4.0% increase in 2010/2011.

Tuition fees have been frozen in Newfoundland and Labrador since 2003/2004. However, increases ranged from: 1.4% in Manitoba, 5.1% in Ontario, 3.6% in New Brunswick (first increase in 3 years) to a 4.3% increase in Nova Scotia after three years of declines.

On average, undergraduate students in Ontario paid the highest fees ($6,640) in Canada, followed by students in New Brunswick who paid $5,853.

Higher fees for Canadian graduate students

At the national level, graduate students paid an average of $5,599 in tuition fees for the 2011/2012 academic year, up 3.7%.

Fees for graduate students rose in every province except Newfoundland and Labrador. Increases ranged from 0.1% in Alberta to 5.5% in Ontario.

Fees in Nova Scotia rose 2.4% for 2011/2012 following a 4.6% decline the year before.

Graduate students in Ontario paid the highest fees ($7,578), followed by students in Nova Scotia ($7,326) and British Columbia ($7,303).

Canadian undergraduates: Dentistry students still pay highest average fees

Undergraduate students in dentistry paid the highest average undergraduate fees ($16,024) in 2011/2012, followed by students in medicine ($11,345) and pharmacy ($9,806).

Undergraduate students in pharmacy paid the highest increase (+8.8%). Dentistry, law, legal professions and studies experienced a 6.4% rise, while increases in other fields ranged from 3.1% for education to 6.0% for business, management and public administration.

Master of business administration programs most expensive among graduate programs

The most expensive programs for graduates were the executive master of business administration (MBA) with tuition fees of $37,501, and the regular MBA program, at $21,528.

The largest increases occurred in law, legal professions and legal studies (+20.7%) and the regular MBA program (+5.9%).

Additional compulsory fees on rise

Nationally, additional compulsory fees for Canadian undergraduate students increased 5.5% in 2011/2012; an average of $820 up from $777 a year earlier.

In 2011/2012, additional compulsory fee increases ranged from $212 in Newfoundland and Labrador to $1,399 in Alberta. For the same provinces, compulsory fees for graduate students ranged from $229 to $1,133, respectively.

New Brunswick posted the largest additional compulsory fees increase for both undergraduate (+21.5% to $430) and graduate students (+17.6% to $475) students.

Services included in additional compulsory fees vary from institution to institution, but typically include fees for athletics, student health services and student associations, as well as other fees that apply to full-time Canadian students.

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.

For more information, to order data, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-800-307-3382; 613-951-7608; fax: 613-951-4441; educationstats@statcan.gc.ca), Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics Division.

Average undergraduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students, by province

2010/2011 2011/2012 2010/2011 to 2011/2012
current dollars % change
Canada 5,146 5,366 4.3
Newfoundland and Labrador 2,649 2,649 0.0
Prince Edward Island 5,131 5,258 2.5
Nova Scotia 5,497 5,731 4.3
New Brunswick 5,647 5,853 3.6
Quebec 2,411 2,519 4.5
Ontario 6,316 6,640 5.1
Manitoba 3,593 3,645 1.4
Saskatchewan 5,431 5,601 3.1
Alberta 5,505 5,662 2.9
British Columbia 4,758 4,852 2.0

Average graduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students, by province

2010/2011 2011/2012 2010/2011 to 2011/2012
current dollars % change
Canada 5,401 5,599 3.7
Newfoundland and Labrador 2,456 2,456 0.0
Prince Edward Island 3,913 3,992 2.0
Nova Scotia 7,157 7,326 2.4
New Brunswick 5,034 5,258 4.4
Quebec 2,601 2,731 5.0
Ontario 7,181 7,578 5.5
Manitoba 4,132 4,173 1.0
Saskatchewan 3,434 3,504 2.0
Alberta 4,672 4,676 0.1
British Columbia 7,178 7,303 1.7

Average undergraduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students by faculty

2010/2011 2011/2012 2010/2011 to 2011/2012
current dollars % change
Agriculture, natural resources and conservation 4,803 5,023 4.6
Architecture and related technologies 5,179 5,424 4.7
Humanities 4,638 4,791 3.3
Business, management and public administration 5,386 5,711 6.0
Education 3,850 3,970 3.1
Engineering 5,992 6,326 5.6
Law 8,657 9,214 6.4
Medicine 10,867 11,345 4.4
Visual and performing arts, and communications technologies 4,748 4,731 -0.4
Physical and life sciences and technology 5,049 5,247 3.9
Mathematics, computer and information science 5,526 5,811 5.2
Social and behavioural science 4,586 4,759 3.8
Other health, parks, recreation and fitness 4,698 4,874 3.7
Dentistry 15,062 16,024 6.4
Nursing 4,662 4,809 3.2
Pharmacy 9,014 9,806 8.8
Veterinary medicine 5,612 5,889 4.9