UPDATE: UPEI students to pay an extra $17 per course in tuition this fall

Published on May 19, 2017

Aerial view of the University of Prince Edward Island campus.

©Guardian file photo

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The University of Prince Edward Island is increasing its tuition this fall by $17 per course, or $170 per year for a full course load.

The university made the decision when it approved its balanced budget Thursday night.

Fees for international students will also increase by the same percentage, or $21 per course.

UPEI points out that, despite the increase, a three-semester hour course costs $603 — the second-lowest tuition in the Maritimes.

The university’s president, Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, said the “modest” increase was needed to counteract UPEI’s significant budget pressures, which could otherwise lead to cuts in staffing and services.

Hammad Ahmad, president of the UPEI student union, said it’s unfortunate students continue to bear the burden of the university’s financial constraints through tuition increases.

Another significant source of revenue for the university comes from public funding through an operating grant. The provincial government increased the 2017-18 grant by one per cent during the spring sitting of the legislature.    

“This additional funding was not enough to prevent another increase in tuition,” said Ahmed. “Yearly fluctuations in tuition rates make it very difficult for students to financially plan over the course of their education.”

Taya Nabuurs, vice-president academic and external for the student union, said there is still no multi-year funding agreement between the province and UPEI, despite government making a commitment to do so in its 2016 throne speech.

“Such an agreement would allow the university to plan long term and invest in the future of the institution,” said Nabuurs. “Additionally, it would relieve unnecessary financial stress placed on students and their families when trying to anticipate and afford the rising cost of post-secondary education.”

The university’s annual operating budget of $113.9 million does not include research funds or capital projects, which are budgeted separately on a project-by-project basis.

UPEI says the proportion of the operating budget allocated to salaries and benefits is 71 per cent.