Can international students expect tuition fee hikes at Canadian universities?
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Can international students expect tuition fee hikes at Canadian universities?

Can international students expect tuition fee hikes at Canadian universities?

Some Canadian universities are raising their tuition fees to make up for shortfalls in revenue due to COVID-19 preventing students from enrolling.

The University of Winnipeg in Manitoba recently announced that it is raising its undergraduate tuition fee by an average of 3.75%, varying by programme.

This translates to 118 Canadian dollars for the average student, or CA$165 for those taking a full load of five courses.

The university said that it is projecting substantial revenue losses from campus operations impacted by COVID-19, particularly in international student enrollments, housing, parking, printing and recreational services. 

Combined with its 3.7% reduction to their base operating grant from the provincial government, this amounts to CA$11.3 million less in revenue than pre-pandemic projections.

Hike in tuition fee at Canadian universities despite courses moving online

tuition fee

Canada attracts a sizeable number of students from India and China. Source: Cole Burston/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Earlier this year, the University of Calgary’s President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ed McCauley said the university’s Board of Governors have approved the increase in tuition, effective May 2020.

Tuition for new international students will increase by 10%, while the figure is 5% for continuing students and 7% for new domestic students.

“As has been widely shared, we had an in-year cut of 6.9% to our Campus Alberta grant, equating to [CA]$32.9 million in base funds, and we are anticipating additional cuts of 5% in each of the next three years,” said McCauley, assuring that the university aims to preserve and enhance the student experience.

The University of Manitoba announced that its 2020/21 budget reflects an average increase of 3.75% in tuition fees. 

“Under the new tuition schedule, most students, including students in Arts and Science, two of the largest faculties, would expect to pay approximately [CA]$250 more per year for a full course-load,” said the university.


The University of Alberta said that it is developing a new tuition model for international students. 

“The model will be in place for international students who enrol in new programmes starting in fall 2020. The new programme-based tuition model will allow international students to know the total tuition cost of their programme at the time of their admission to the University of Alberta,” said its website.

Current international students can expect a 4% increase for fall 2020. 

Beginning fall 2020, tuition for incoming international undergraduate students will be calculated using a programme-based model. 

Under this model, tuition is assessed based on an annual and total programme tuition guarantee.

“Payment of the total programme tuition amount can be paid in annual or semi-annual installments and will remain consistent regardless of how many courses you register for,” it said.

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