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B.C. graduate students pay the second-highest tuitions in Canada

Annual undergraduate tuition in Canada rates rose 2.6 per cent
Students returning to campuses across British Columbia including the University of Victoria are paying among the highest tuitions across the country with high housing costs another compounding factor. (Bailey Moreton/News Staff)

Domestic students returning to university campuses across British Columbia pay among the highest tuition rates in Canada, according to Statistics Canada.

On average, full-time graduate students will pay $7,437, while undergraduate students will pay $6,834 for the 2022/23 academic year — respective increases of 1.7 per cent and 2.6 per cent from the previous year. But these national figures do not capture the variability across the country.

Graduate students in British Columbia will pay an average annual tuition of $9,994 — the second-highest figure across the country, ahead of Ontario ($9,385) and just behind Nova Scotia ($10,591). Undergraduate students in British Columbia will pay $ 6,256, well below the most expensive province of Nova Scotia ($9,328) and below the Canadian average. But students in British Columbia also face higher costs for key categories including food and rent.

Students in British Columbia faced the highest increases in rent among all students across the country, with shelter costs rising 6.4 per cent in April 2022 compared to April 2021. Overall, inflation rose eight per cent in British Columbia in August 2022 relative to the same month in 2021.

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Overall, Quebec remains the cheapest place to get an undergraduate and graduate degree in Canada with $3,559 in annual tuition for an undergraduate degree and $3,582 for a graduate degree. Newfoundland and Labrador offer comparable rates.

International students, meanwhile, face far higher tuition rates than domestic students anywhere in the country, including British Columbia, where they pay an annual tuition fee of $32,909, the second high rate after Ontario at $45,242, if they are pursuing an undergraduate degree. These tuition figures do not include expenses for rent or housing, nor do they consider the variability among programs. So-called professional degrees generally cost more than more generic degrees in say the arts or sciences. Those pursuing an executive master of business administration degree will pay an average annual tuition fee of $53,227. Those pursuing a regular MBA will pay $30,464.

Notably, these figures come with a bright spot, if you can call it such. New data from the tuition and living accommodation costs survey shows that average tuition fees have been decreasing for Canadian students from 2018/19 to 2022/23. International students, who make up a growing share of the Canadian post-secondary population, have no such luck as the gap between their rates and domestic rates continues to widen.

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