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If you're enrolled in post-secondary studies or know someone who is, tuition prices are most likely a hot topic of discussion; it usually starts with the statement, "I just paid my tuition fees", and generally followed closely by "I have no money now".

Ontario Tuition Costs Highest in Canada

Feeling the pinch goes beyond idle chit-chat; reports are surfacing about the tuition cost increases Ontario students have experienced for the upcoming year. With prices that seem to change on a whim year after year, students like myself are left feeling extremely frustrated. In fact, tuition prices in Ontario have increased a staggering 248% since 1993, which as the Star reports, is well above the inflation rate of 48.71 per cent from that time until now.

The current estimated tuition cost for Ontario students (as per the CCPA prediction for the 2015-16 academic year) is $8,691, which puts Ontario at just under $2,000 more than the national average. Not only does this mean that Ontario students pay the most in Canada, but the discrepancy between Ontario and Newfoundland – the province with the most affordable average tuition – is an incredible $5,829. Does this make me want to move and attend school in Newfoundland? Not particularly, since it all really hinges on what you personally want out of your education. I’m sure that this could be a determining factor for some when picking an institution to enroll in, as debt is sometimes not an option.

Here’s a breakdown of tuition cost per province:

Province Average tuition cost
Ontario $8,691.00
Saskatchewan $7,406.00
Nova Scotia $7,397.00
New Brunswick $6,834.00
Alberta $6,799.00
P.E.I. $6,694.00
British Columbia $5,964.00
Manitoba $4,578.00
Quebec $3,648.00
Newfoundland $2,862.00
Canada $6,971.00

Source: CCPA Another interesting point to consider is that Ontario students have the largest class sizes in the country, boasting the worst student-teacher ratios. While it’s not unheard of to have 500+ colleagues in lecture attendance, it never really occurred to me that the ratio was the poorest in the country.

A Gap in Support

Even with the advances in regards to the 30% off tuition offered through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), work still needs to be done in order to have the costs reduced, at the very least just closer to the national average. The discrepancies between provinces are too high in my opinion, and do not seem fair to have some provinces at almost triple the cost of schooling in comparison to others. With provinces such as Newfoundland boasting the lowest average tuition cost in the country, and after just abolishing previous student loans and turning them into non-repayable grants, Ontario and the rest of the country still have a lot of work to do.

Would you move out of province for cheaper tuition? Tell us in a comment.

Derek Nicholson

Derek is in his fourth year of the Bachelor of Public Relations program at Humber College, working as an intern with the marketing team at RATESDOTCA over the summer. As his first foray into the world of personal finance, he hopes to expand and further develop his understanding while offering insight from a student's perspective.

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