Post-Secondary Fees in Alberta Among the Highest in Canada
Rising tuition prices are an unfortunate reality for students everywhere, but a recent report suggests that it’s the steep compulsory fees that are hitting Alberta students the hardest.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) predicts that tuition and compulsory fees for Canadian undergraduate students will increase on average about 13 per cent in the next four years. While the overall increase for Alberta is likely to be in the 9 per cent range, the compulsory fees in that province were found to be among the highest in the country.
The price hikes in compulsory fees are not surprising considering they are unregulated in Alberta. When government cuts cause university funding to dwindle, schools simply make up for it by increasing the extra fees. David Macdonald, CCPA researcher, explains:
“The fact is, is that if you cap tuition fee increases for universities, but you don’t increase the funding that they get from the provincial government — even today about 50 per cent of funding for university comes from provincial government — then you are squeezing the universities.”
Although tuition increases in Alberta are supposed to be controlled by the consumer price index, the province’s post-secondary schools can obtain government permission for an exception to the limit. For certain programs, they can raise tuition at a faster rate, which the University of Calgary may implement for its engineering, law and MBA programs.
The school’s rebuttal for this price hike is simple: you may pay more, but you get more. Dru Marshall of the U of C says: “Counselling, transcripts — there are a variety of things that people pay for service, and they don’t do that on our campus.”