This morning we announced tuition rates and fees for 2014-15. With the university currently looking at ways to decrease costs and increase revenue we know that there will be questions about how tuition rates are set and whether tuition and fees are used to balance the university budget. We want to clarify that we have not, and will not, set tuition rates to balance our books. Our students, and providing students with a high quality and affordable education, continue to be our priority.
For the university, tuition helps to fund the enhancement of the student experience. For students and their parents, tuition is just one piece of the investment they are making in getting a high quality university education. The cost of books, supplies, student fees, transportation, housing and other expenses also result in financial obligations for students and their families. We know our students are making a significant financial investment in their future by choosing the University of Saskatchewan and that is why, in October 2009, our Board of Governors adopted a tuition strategy based on three principles. These principles guide our thinking and processes when rates are set annually. The principles are described below.
Comparability means we look at our peer universities offering similar programs to ensure our tuition rates compare to these institutions. Currently, all our programs with the exception of dentistry are below the median tuition rates of our peers. Tuition rates in Arts and Science, where 40% of our students are enrolled, are projected to be 11% below the median in 2014-15.
Affordability and accessibility means we look at the total cost for a student to attend the U of S, as well as looking at funding available to help support students, such as scholarships and bursaries. We also look at the potential lifetime earnings for grads of specific programs. We want to ensure that we support our students through scholarships; through distributed learning opportunities so that they can access our programs in local communities; and that we provide supports to enable students to participate in the post-secondary education we provide.
Enabling quality recognizes our commitment to providing high quality programs for our students, offering opportunities to enhance the student experience and ensuring we attract and retain outstanding faculty to teach our students.
Given that tuition rates remain below the median of peer programs across Canada, we believe we offer good value for the investment students and parents are making in the U of S. The university’s commitment to students is to continue to provide value for your investment by offering high quality programs that earn high levels of student satisfaction.
We have already received some questions and comments on today’s announcement and invite you to join in the discussion by commenting below.
Brett and Greg