Why are colleges so expensive?

Have you ever wondered why universities in Canada are so expensive? Many Canadian families start saving for their children’s higher education from the moment they are born until they are 18 years old. This unprecedented difficulty in financing one’s education at the university raises an important question: why are colleges so expensive and where does your money go when you pay your tuition?

Let’s have a look into where your money goes first. In a research by Students at Hamilton’s McMaster University, it was shown that the tuition is distributed to:

  • retirement bonuses
  • social clubs
  • financial advisers
  • car allowances
  • social club memberships
  • country clubs

The above list may sound frustrating many, but there are also other costs involved. Some Universities in urban areas pay significant amount of money for renovation and property purchases. In many cases, provinces do not pay for them and Universities pay out of their own pockets.

The cost of tuition in general increases by about %4.5 yearly and currently stays at an average of $7500 CAD for domestic students for a year. One of the main reasons for this increase is for the change in the way Universities are funded. Back in the 20th century, provincial government paid up to 3 quarters of the funding for each university. The tuition were relatively kept low and students could afford their degrees by having a part-time jobs on the side. This has drastically changed.

Many institutions are currently privatized and the largest portion of University funding comes from tuition costs, in particular International student tuition where they pay up to 8 times the cost of domestic students tuition. Furthermore, many schools argue, scholarships, grants, maintenance, salaries, construction and costs of partnership with other institutions who provide services to them, makes tuition reduction an impossibility. 

Whichever argument you accept, the tuition has been increasing for 29 years in a row and does not show any signs of slowing down. What students have to decide is the importance of this degree in their future and evaluate the costs/benefits of graduating with a potential debt.

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