The Cost and Return Investment of Post-secondary Education

See how much it costs to complete a post-secondary program, consider how much debt is left after graduation and see the long-term payoff in lifetime earnings.

An analysis in 2014 by BC Stats shows that graduates of post-secondary programs earn a higher income over a working lifetime than they would make with a high school diploma.

The following table shows annual tuition fees for:

  • B.C. public post-secondary institutions
  • Full-time students by sector
  • Academic Arts programs
  2015/16 2016/17 2016/17 Percent Change over 2015/16
Colleges 
Camosun College $3,218 $3,283 2.00%
College of New Caledonia $2,565 $2,616 2.00%
College of the Rockies $2,591 $2,643 2.00%
Douglas College $2,931 $2,990 2.00%
Langara College $2,756 $2,811 2.00%
North Island College $2,793 $2,849 2.00%
Northern Lights College $3,060 $3,119 1.90%
Northwest Community College $2,633 $2,686 2.00%
Okanagan College2 $3,332 $3,277 -1.70%
Selkirk College $2,697 $2,751 2.00%
Vancouver Community College $2,526 $2,577 2.00%
Simple Average $2,827 $2,873 1.70%
Weighted Average 3 $2,870 $2,915 1.60%
 
Institutes 
British Columbia Institute of Technology $5,350 $5,455 2.00%
Justice Institute of British Columbia 4 $4,644 $4,737 2.00%
Nicola Valley Institute of Technology $2,423 $2,472 2.00%
Simple Average $4,139 $4,221 2.00%
Weighted Average 3 $5,128 $5,234 2.00%
College and Institute Simple Average $3,109 $3,162 1.70%
College and Institute Weighted Average 3 $3,414 $3,483 1.70%
 
Teaching-Intensive Universities
Capilano University $3,683 $3,756 2.00%
Emily Carr University of Art and Design $3,864 $3,942 2.00%
Kwantlen Polytechnic University $4,010 $4,089 2.00%
Royal Roads University 5 $6,790 $6,925 2.00%
Thompson Rivers University $3,985 $4,064 2.00%
University of the Fraser Valley $4,100 $4,182 2.00%
Vancouver Island University $4,177 $4,261 2.00%
Simple Average $4,373 $4,460 2.00%
Weighted Average 3 $4,138 $4,221 2.00%
 
Research-Intensive Universities      
Simon Fraser University $5,322 $5,428 2.00%
University of British Columbia $4,988 $5,088 2.00%
University of Northern British Columbia $5,011 $5,111 2.00%
University of Victoria $5,262 $5,368 2.00%
Simple Average $5,146 $5,249 2.00%
Weighted Average 3 $5,125 $5,227 2.00%
Teaching-Intensive & Research-Intensive Universities Simple Average $4,654 $4,747 2.00%
Teaching-Intensive & Research-Intensive Universities Weighted Average 3 $4,806 $4,902 2.00%
 
System Simple Average $3,788 $3,859 1.90%
System Weighted Average 3 $4,340 $4,424 1.90%

Notes:

  1. Tuition fees do not include books or other student fees.
  2. Effective 2016/17, the Arts Program at Okanagan College was re-evaluated and is now calculated on 30 credits of lecture, accounting for the -1.7% drop in the cost of tuition over 2015/16.
  3. Weighted averages for tuition ($) amounts are derived by using institution size (i.e. student full-time equivalent targets) to provide an average that more accurately reflects the average amounts paid.
  4. For Justice Institute of British Columbia, the Bachelor of Emergency and Security Management Studies was used for comparison purposes.
  5. For Royal Roads University, the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science program was used for comparison purposes.

Find out how much debt students have once they graduate. Information is based on students who were surveyed after graduation.

Note: Percentages listed reflect the number of respondents who incurred government student loan debt and answered finance questions. Dollar amounts reflect the median debt of respondents who reported government student loan debt.

Bachelor Degree Graduates

Diploma, Associate Degree & Certificate Graduates

 

2009

2010

2011

2009

2010

2011

 

Debt Overview

39%

36%

36%

25%

23%

24%

 

$20,000

$20,000

$20,000

$10,000

$10,000

$10,000

 

Arts and Science

37%

33%

34%

30%

27%

26%

 

$20,000

$20,000

$20,000

$11,000

$10,000

$11,000

 

Business and Management

32%

30%

31%

24%

20%

23%

 

$18,000

$15,175

$18,000

$11,000

$12,000

$10,000

 

Education

50%

46%

41%

17%

10%

10%

 

$15,000

$15,000

$14,000

$8,000

$12,500

$9,000

 

Engineering and Applied Sciences

40%

37%

35%

32%

32%

31%

 

$20,000

$20,000

$20,000

$12,000

$12,000

$11,000

 

Health

41%

43%

45%

29%

26%

27%

 

$28,000

$25,000

$26,000

$12,000

$11,000

$11,100

 

Human and Social Services

45%

43%

43%

26%

23%

26%

 

$25,000

$24,000

$22,500

$11,000

$11,000

$10,000

 

Trades

-

-

-

20%

18%

21%

 

-

-

-

$8,000

$7,800

$8,000

 

Visual and Performing Arts

38%

36%

33%

29%

32%

32%

 

$20,000

$20,000

$20,000

$13,000

$10,000

$11,000