In the past few days we have had many questions and comments posted with regard to tuition and would like to take a moment respond to some of these.
We understand that students do not want to pay more. No one would. Costs of many things go up from year to year, and this includes the costs of running a university. Students are paying 23% of the operating revenue of the U of S, a relatively constant share that has not increased more than a fraction of a percentage point in years. Not only are students at the U of S paying a constant share, this is a lesser share than at most other universities. We appreciate that paying this share may be difficult for some students (and/or their parents in some cases). Our university is working to help those who face particular barriers by increasing the numbers of scholarships and bursaries, offering learn-where-you live distributed education to keep living costs lower, and developing great support services for Indigenous learners.
Many have asked why there is information online indicating the U of S the second highest tuition rates in Canada. This information is based on an annual report released by StatsCanada. The U of S compares program by program, while StatsCanada averages all undergraduate programs. Because a particularly high proportion of Saskatchewan students are enrolled in professional programs (such as Veterinary Medicine, Medicine, Pharmacy, Engineering, Law and Nursing) these drag up the StatsCanada average. A university that has proportionately more Law and Medicine students is reported by StatsCanada as having higher tuition fees, even if the Law fees are lower than other law schools, Medicine lower than other med schools etc.
Here are a few samples of what our research has shown us in terms of how we compare:
|Domestic student tuition and fee (projected rates 14-15)*||U15 minimum||U15 maximum||U15 median||U of S (announced rates)||U of S variance from median|
|Arts and Science||$3,730||$8,149||$6,874||$6,174||11.4%|
(*Note: These do not include health and dental fees as students have the ability to opt out)
Overall, in the last two years we have seen record numbers of students; postsecondary participation rates are growing; SK students are repaying their debt quickly; and job prospects for graduates are very good. The lifetime benefits of a university degree greatly outweigh the costs, but we are also working hard to keep the costs down through workforce planning, TransformUS, and other strategies to find efficiencies and reduce spending. The work the university does to reduce costs is part of what keeps tuition fees relatively lower than at peer universities. We set tuition fees according to principles, not just to cover the university’s cost increases.
Within our budget, we also prioritize to improve programs and services every year. In the last five years the U of S has directed funding internally to expand scholarships, create learning communities, build new residences, improve food services, and create new opportunities for undergraduate students to have hands-on experience in research. We believe the U of S offers good value to students: excellent faculty, programs, staff, and services, and a lower cost than most of our peers.
We would like to thank those who have weighed in and asked great questions about tuition and how it all works – the dialogue has been valuable to us. For answers to many more questions, we have updated our tuition website to include a frequently asked questions section. We hope this is helpful in providing answers to many more questions than we are able to on our blog.