Proposed Business Tuition Increases

Under the Alberta Tuition Framework, the University of Alberta School of Business has begun consultation with its Bachelor of Commerce and MBA students on proposals to increase tuition for domestic students starting in Fall 2022. Collecting tuition is essential to providing students with high-quality learning and research opportunities. It allows the School to enhance and support EDI and Indigenous efforts, offer further student financial support and provide curricular initiatives to inspire undergraduate and graduate student success.

Rationale

We understand that no one likes to see costs go up. While we aim to keep tuition low and accessible, University of Alberta fees have not kept pace with inflationary pressures and cost increases in program delivery. In many cases, current tuition fees are well below average compared to peer institutions that are similarly ranked, partly due to a domestic tuition freeze between 2014-2019 and an MBA tuition rollback in 2015. Raising tuition above the approved 7% increase allows the School to enhance student services, hire and retain accomplished faculty and staff to offer more courses, maintain small class sizes, and increase the number of experiential learning opportunities available.


Bachelor of Commerce (BCom)

Proposed Increases

Note: Costs for 1-year of tuition assuming a normal full-time load of 10 courses per year.

Current Tuition (2020/21)

Proposed Tuition (2022/23)

$7,488 $9,775

 

Market Comparators

Ranking*

School

2020/21 Tuition and Fees

4 Western $25,200
4 Queen’s $16,397
1 Toronto $15,900
8 York $9,619
7 McMaster $9,355
10 Calgary $8,318
3 McGill $8,186
1 UBC $8,160 (Tuition for Years 2-4)
9 Waterloo $7,700
4
Alberta $7,488
Average $11,632
Median $8,837

*Based on Maclean’s 2021 Business School Rankings

 

BCom FAQs

Who is impacted by the proposed tuition increase?
The proposed tuition increase applies only to domestic students who enter the BCom program in the Fall 2022 semester or later. Current domestic and international students are exempt from the proposed tuition increase.
How much is the proposed tuition increase?

Tuition would increase from $7,488 per year as proposed for the 2022/23 academic year to $9,775 per year. This assumes a normal full-time load of ten courses per year. That is an increase of 22% for tuition in the BCom program, which includes the U of A wide tuition increase.

Why is the proposed tuition increase necessary?
Domestic BCom tuition at the University of Alberta is low by Canadian standards and impacts our ability to continue offering a competitive and sustainable program. University of Alberta fees have also not kept pace with inflationary pressures and cost increases in program delivery, partly due to a domestic tuition freeze between 2014-2019. Increasing tuition above the minimum 7% increase allows the School to improve equity, diversity, inclusion (EDI) and Indigenous initiatives, invest in expanding work-integrated learning (WIL) options, and strengthen its connected-learning environment.
Won’t this increased tuition make the BCom program uncompetitive?

Current tuition rates place the School the Business near the bottom when compared to peer institutions. The proposed tuition increase will allow the School to improve the quality of its program and services, while still remaining at a tuition rate in alignment with other Canadian business schools. A lower cost of living for students living in Edmonton compared to living in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto also provides the School with a competitive advantage.

What will the additional tuition funds be used for?

The additional funds from the increase will be used to improve program quality by investing in the following areas:


  • 15% will be allocated for new student scholarships, awards and other supports for Indigenous, Black and other underrepresented groups of students. This may include bursaries based on financial need
  • Creating a new admissions pathway for underrepresented groups, as well as provide meaningful supports throughout their program
  • Increasing opportunities for all students to participate in case competitions, challenges and consulting projects
  • Offering unique online modules as part of micro-credentials to complement the BCom, targeting diverse learners
  • Increased support for students in flexible in-person and online learning options, as well as global collaboration opportunities
Why is there no proposed tuition increase for international students?
We feel that our current international tuition for the Bachelor of Commerce program is at an appropriate and fair level, and as a result are not seeking a tuition increase for international students.
Have you explored other revenue streams to offset tuition increases?
The School of Business is constantly looking at ways to bring in revenue to help enhance the academic and student experience. This includes research grants, professional certification, as well as building relationships with industry partners and individual donors. In using the proposed additional tuition funds to increase the quality of our programming and services, we believe that we will make the School a more attractive draw to potential donors. Gifts to the School are restricted, however, and allocated for specific purposes. They are not included in the university’s operating budget, and as such can not replace government grants and tuition as a source of funding.
Has this tuition increase been approved?

It is important to note that we are currently in the consultation phase and no final decisions have yet been made. Any proposed tuition increase needs approval from the University of Alberta Board of Governors and the Minister of Advanced Education. We will be submitting our proposal in May after receiving feedback from stakeholders.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Proposed Increases

Note: Costs for 2-year program assuming a normal full-time load of 10 courses per year
(20 courses total).

Current Tuition (2020/21)

Proposed Tuition (2022/23)

$28,438 $49,250

 

Market Comparators

Ranking*

School

2021/22 Tuition and Fees

1 Toronto  $95,075
4 Western $87,850
3 McGill $85,002
4 Queen's $84,600
8 York $71,840
1 UBC $59,808
7 McMaster $38,394
10 Calgary $36,148
9 Waterloo $34,869
4 Alberta $28,765
Average $62,203
Median $65,824

*Based on Maclean’s 2021 Business School Rankings

 

MBA FAQs

Who is impacted by the proposed tuition increase?

The exceptional proposed tuition increase applies only to domestic students who enter the MBA program in the Fall 2022 semester or later. Current domestic and international students are exempt from the exceptional proposed tuition increase. Under the Tuition Fee Regulation, an exceptional tuition increase can only be applied once in a five-year period.

How much is the proposed tuition increase?

Tuition would increase from $15,389 per year as proposed for the 2022/23 academic year to $24,625 per year. This assumes a normal full-time load of ten courses per year and represents an increase of 60%.

Why is the proposed tuition increase necessary?

Domestic MBA tuition at the University of Alberta is very low by Canadian standards and impacts our ability to continue offering a competitive and sustainable program. MacLean’s Magazine currently ranks the Alberta School of Business fourth out of the 2020 Top 10 business schools in Canada; however, our domestic MBA tuition is now the lowest in Canada out of these programs.

Won’t this increased tuition make the MBA program uncompetitive?

With this proposed increase, our total program tuition would be $49,250. This amount is well below the current average Canadian MBA domestic cost of over $62,000. The increased tuition will allow us to enhance the services provided to our MBA students and signal to prospective applicants that our programming is competitive and at a quality level similar to other highly-ranked MBA programs.

Why is MBA tuition so low relative to other programs?

The Government of Alberta froze tuition from 2014-2019 and rolled back the approved MBA tuition increase for 2015. While the government provided targeted taxpayer funds to partly make up for the tuition rollback, recent government funding announcements for the University of Alberta have eliminated those funds. Had the tuition rollback not occurred, MBA tuition would now be approximately $22,500 per year.

What will the additional funds be used for?

The additional funds from the tuition increase will be used to improve program quality by investing in the following areas:

  • 15% will be allocated to scholarships to promote access for those from historically underrepresented groups in the MBA program
  • 10% will be allocated to supporting the MBA Student Association and their activities
  • The balance (75%) will be used to enhance student services, such as increased career coaching and support, hiring and retention of faculty to increase available elective courses, and increasing the number of experiential learning opportunities such as the Creative Destruction Lab and Frontiers of Business courses
Why is there no proposed tuition increase for international students?

While domestic tuition was frozen or rolled back between 2014 and 2019, there was no freeze on international tuition. As a result, international MBA students at the University of Alberta currently pay 109% more in tuition fees than domestic students. This international differential is by far the highest out of all of our comparator schools in Canada, where the difference averages 38%. We feel that our current international MBA tuition is at an appropriate and fair level, and as a result are not seeking a tuition increase for international students.  

Has this tuition increase been approved?

It is important to note that we are currently in the consultation phase and no final decisions have yet been made. Any proposed tuition increase needs approval from the University of Alberta Board of Governors and the Minister of Advanced Education. We will be submitting our proposal in May after receiving feedback from stakeholders.


Consultation

The university and the School are committed to conducting meaningful consultation with students and stakeholders to communicate the rationale and principles underlying the proposed tuition increases. Throughout March and April 2021, the School hosted many consultation activities, including focus groups and town halls. Bachelor of Commerce and MBA students and other stakeholders were also invited to submit feedback through an online form from April 12-30, 2021.

Consultation Activities To-Date

MBA Association Executive Committee
March 26, 2021

Bachelor of Commerce Student Focus Groups
April 2, 6 & 9, 2021

MBA Students Town Hall
April 9, 2021

Bachelor of Commerce Students Town Hall
April 13, 2021


Next Steps

Further institutional and government approvals are needed before these proposals can be approved. We are currently in the consultation phase and no decisions have yet been made. Any proposed tuition increase needs approval from the University of Alberta Board of Governors and the Minister of Advanced Education. The Alberta School of Business plans to submit proposals in May after receiving feedback from stakeholders. 

Contact

For more information about these and other university tuition increase proposals, please contact:

Hallie Brodie
Issues & Strategic Communications Manager
hbrodie@ualberta.ca
780-983-2327