Benefits Arising From Education Have a Cost

Generally speaking, the more educated a country’s population, the higher level of productive output and ultimately the more beneficial the outcome to the country as an economic engine. In Canada, education comes with an ever-increasing price-tag.

The average tuition fee for undergraduate programs in Canada reached $5,772 for the 2013-2014 school year – a 3.3 per cent increase over the previous year. A year earlier, the increase was 4.2 per cent. The most costly undergraduate program, on average, is dentistry ($17,324 on average) followed by medicine ($12,438) and pharmacy ($10,942).

Graduate programs in Canada experienced a similar rise in the cost of tuition, with the 2013-2014 average increase of 2.3 per cent pushing the average bill to just over $6,000. Students experienced an average increase of 4.5 per cent in the previous year. Ontario’s average cost is the highest at $8,546 – nearly $1,000 more than British Columbia. At $2,473, Newfoundland is the province with the lowest average cost, followed by Quebec at $2,792. Graduate dentistry programs averaged an additional $11,142, and pharmacy cost an additonal $5,266 (data for post-graduate medicine programs was not available). Executive master of business administration (MBA) programs are the most expensive, with an average cost of $35,889.

The annual university bill is not limited to tuition fees as all universities have additional compulsory fees that are not insignificant. Additional fees for undergraduates in Canada averaged $817 for 2013-2014 – an increase of 5.3 per cent over the previous year. These fees include items such as athletics, health services and student associations.

These newly released statistics suggest that Canadians planning for their children’s future education need to continually review their savings plans in order to meet the ever-increasing cost of a financially secure future. Education has benefits, but not without a significant up-front cost.