Your Money, Your Time: Tuition and Fees at BU

File photo. (Coaxeus / Flickr)

On January 29th and 30th, Brandon University’s Financial and Registration Services hosted “All You Ever Wanted to Know About BU Tuition & Fees” information sessions in the Louis Riel Room to inform students and faculty of standard financial activities within the university. Giving special attention to the division of tuition fees, Director of Finance and Registration Deb Berkan explained how tuition fees are regulated on a yearly basis.

As everyone knows, Brandon University boasts quite loudly about having one of the lowest tuition rates in the country. Financial support for programming and services available to students on campus during and after school hours is made possible largely through government funding (80%), tuition fees (18%), and other miscellaneous fees, including mandatory student ID cards and the newly enforced Student Fitness Fee. Other revenue is generated via Ancillary Service Fees, which operates on a cost-recovery basis to provide services such as the parking spots at any of the various lots on campus and lost ID cards, as well as fees for living in residence, including the cost of room, board, Internet, and maintenance. In response to the ebb and flow of the economy and based on the rate paid in previous years, BU students naturally experience the dreaded phenomenon of rising tuition.

Over the past four years, Brandon University has increased the price of tuition by roughly 13%, with a 2.8% jump for the 2012-2013 school year. The numbers seem unreasonable considered on their own, but we must take into account that the province of Manitoba froze tuition fees from 1999 to 2009, just before a tuition fee reduction of 10%. So in the long run, over a span of fourteen years, tuition fees have risen by less than 1% per year. By comparison, the University of Manitoba upped tuition by 2.8% this year as well, and the provincial-wide sum of tuition increases totaled 3.9% in Alberta, 4.9% in Saskatchewan and 10.1% in Quebec.

While the figures vary between faculties, students enrolled in 24 credit hours in the Faculty of Arts this school year paid $2,914.25. Meanwhile, institutions like the University of Winnipeg and the University of Regina charged anywhere from a little over one hundred to over a thousand dollars for theoretically the same educational experience.

However, due to the different methods used by each post-secondary institute to group fees, comparing statistics between universities is difficult. For example, Brandon University doesn’t group the cost of a health and dental plan with standard student tuition fees, whereas the University of Regina forces students to pay higher tuition in lieu of student fees. Similarly, other universities automatically charge for certain documents (i.e., confirmation of enrollment or letters of permission) potentially sought by students regardless of whether the students actually seek them at all, while BU students need only pay the fee if they request the documents.

Brandon University is able to offer students both their academic experience and a fair tuition for a reason, and it definitely puts other institutions to shame by a consistently-meager yearly tuition increase. As the information session highlighted, there are no hidden fees, and arguably the only concealed element of our university experience in regards to financial burdens is our own privilege.

Exact figures for tuition and fees are estimated by Brandon University by April 15th of each year.  This information is sent to Manitoba’s Council on Post-Secondary Education (COPSE), and approved by May 31st, and students are contacted soon after with concrete financial figures.

Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 103, Issue 20, February 5, 2013.