Tuition and Fees Regulation Brief

The Government of Alberta recently announced the new tuition and fees regulation that is going to replace the current regulation on February 1, 2019. A copy of the new regulation can be found here.

As was expected, the new regulation limits increases to tuition to the twelve month average of the Alberta Consumer Price Index (CPI), with an effective limit of 10% as domestic tuition cannot increase more than 10% for a program. This is similar to the pre-freeze formula that was the 12 month average of Alberta CPI to a minimum of 0%, to a maximum of 5%. Both the former and new regulation allows for tuition for select programs to be increased by more than CPI as long as the average increase for the institution remains at or below the CPI maximum.

"Market Modifiers" have been renamed “Exceptional tuition fee increases;” however, the new regulation requires that applications must be supported by both the Students’ Association and the Board. Additionally, the institution can only apply for an exceptional increase five years after the previous application was submitted. Being that this portion remains in regulations, a future government could change this without notice to a less favorable position for students.

As a continuation of Bill 19 Students’ Association veto on Mandatory Non-Instructional Fees (MNIFs), the regulations also limits on what items can be bundled together, maximums allowed for the fees (being at cost), and limits to increases for existing fees. Existing MNIFs may be increased by not more than 10% and costs are limited by the ministry by virtue of "reasonable expenses."

The regulation also requires the Board to provide to the Students’ Association the anticipated tuition and fees for coming four years, and all necessary information to compare the revenue from MNIFs to the costs of the specific goods and services in the MNIF. They are also required to establish a consultation mechanism with the Students’ Association that includes an outline of the process for communications and the holding of consultations and provide for at least two meetings per year.

On International student tuition, institutions will now be required to inform the student, when they offer admission, the maximum amount of tuition and fees that the student may be required to pay for each academic year of a standard length of program. Tuition cannot be increased beyond the stated maximums for the international students for the given years. If the students takes longer to complete their program, they may experience a larger increase than the previous years.

Students' Association fees are exempt from the MNIF restrictions as are other third party fees (Health and Dental, U-Pass/Bus Passes, etc). By extension to the regulation, the ministry has developed a flowchart to assist in determining the type of fee a fee may be. This will greatly clarify what can be charged to students, and how they can be increased.