Simpler tuition-fee structure set for grad students who start in May
The U of S has adopted a simpler tuition-fee structure for graduate students who begin their studies this May which should be easier for students to understand and plan for, and easier for both the University and students to manage in the new online student accounts system.
The Board of Governors passed the new fee model at its Feb. 4 meeting.
Since 1970 the University has had a ‘front-loaded’ fee structure which had master’s students pay much more for tuition in their first year and PhD students pay much more in their first and second years than they paid in subsequent years.
The fee for regular thesis programs has been $5,313 for both master’s and PhD students in their first year. For master’s students in the second, third, fourth and up to fifth year, they then paid $1,449 per year to maintain enrolment. PhD students have paid $5,313 for tuition again in their second year, and then $1,449 in years two through six.
The new fee structure for both regular-program master’s and PhD students who begin in May or later will be a flat $3,000 per year ($1,000 per term).
Doug Dombrosky, Director of Graduate Admissions in the College of Graduate Studies and Research, says the new tuition-fee structure has a number of advantages.
For the student, he or she now knows exactly what they will have to pay each term and each year, whereas the old fee structure could vary according to number of credits taken and other program-specific factors.
“There is now also an incentive for the student to complete their program as soon as they can,” Dombrosky says, since the flat $3,000 annual rate doesn’t go down over time.
“New students will also be able to register and have their fees assessed online”, since the University’s new web-based student information system is set to start by May.
Generally the new tuition structure is intended to have little impact one way or the other on the University’s revenue and on graduate students’ costs. However, explanatory information supplied to the Board of Governors notes that during initial implementation over the first couple of years, there will be a drop in tuition revenue of up to $1.6 million. This could be made up either by increased graduate tuition fees, a differential fee for international graduate students, or even a temporary transfer from the Academic Priorities Fund, but these measures haven’t been decided yet.
Over the longer term, the University could gain a bit of additional grad student tuition revenue because if students in the new fee structure stay in their programs until a fourth or fifth year, they will pay a higher total fee than they would have under the old tuition structure.
University Council and the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) were consulted during development of the new tuition structure. GSA held a referendum in which current graduate students said by a 342-225 vote they want to stay in their old fee model, which would have them pay less per year than students in the new structure. The new fees will apply only to new students who enrol as of May or later.