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.

Affordable higher education for both students and taxpayers.

Since 2005, Government policy has limited tuition fee increases to 2% annually.  

Annual Academic Arts Tuition Fees1 for Full-Time Students by Institution Type

BC Public Post-Secondary Institutions

Academic Years 2018/19 to 2019/20

 
Institutions 2018/19 Tuition Fees 2019/20 Tuition Fees 2019/20 Percent Over 2018/19
Colleges 
Camosun College $3,415 $3,484 2.0%
Coast Mountain College $2,794 $2,850 2.0%
College of New Caledonia $2,722 $2,776 2.0%
College of the Rockies $2,749 $2,804 2.0%
Douglas College  $3,110 $3,171 2.0%
Langara College $2,924 $2,983 2.0%
North Island College  $2,963 $3,022 2.0%
Northern Lights College $3,244 $3,309 2.0%
Okanagan College $3,410 $3,478 2.0%
Selkirk College $2,855 $2,907 1.8%
Vancouver Community College  $2,681 $2,735 2.0%
Simple Average1 $2,988 $3,047 2.0%
Weighted Average2 $3,032 $3,092 2.0%
Institutes 
British Columbia Institute of Technology3 $5,674 $5,787 2.0%
Justice Institute of British Columbia4 $4,928 $5,026 2.0%
Nicola Valley Institute of Technology $2,572 $2,623 2.0%
Simple Average1 $4,391 $4,479 2.0%
Weighted Average2 $5,430 $5,560 2.0%
C & I Simple Average1 $3,289 $3,354 2.0%
C & I Weighted Average2 $3,778 $3,709 2.0%
Teaching-Intensive Universities
Capilano University $3,908 $3,986 2.0%
Emily Carr University of Art and Design $4,101 $4,183 2.0%
Kwantlen Polytechnic University $4,253 $4,339 2.0%
Royal Roads University5 $7,200 $7,340 1.9%
Thompson Rivers University $4,228 $4,313 2.0%
University of the Fraser Valley $4,351 $4,438 2.0%
Vancouver Island University $4,433 $4,521 2.0%
Simple Average1 $4,639 $4,731 2.0%
Weighted Average2 $4,414 $4,477 2.0%
Research-Intensive Universities
Simon Fraser University $5,648 $5,761 2.0%
University of British Columbia $5,294 $5,399 2.0%
University of Northern British Columbia  $5,318 $5,424 2.0%
University of Victoria  $5,585 $5,696 2.0%
Simple Average1 $5,461 $5,570 2.0%
Weighted Average2 $5,438 $5,546 2.0%
TU & RU Simple Average1 $4,938 $5,036 2.0%
TU & RU Weighted Average2 $5,134 $5,202 2.0%
System Simple Average1 $4,014 $4,094 2.0%
System Weighted Average2 $4,729 $4,696 2.0%

Source:  BC Public Post-Secondary Institutions, Fall 2019 tuition data submission

Notes:

  1. Simple average for the year-over-year and the cumulative percent change columns are calculated by averaging the percent change of each institution within a sector or sector grouping (i.e. the college sector, TU & RU).
  2. Weighted averages for tuition are derived by using institution size (i.e. student Full-Time Equivalents, or FTEs) to provide an average that more accurately reflects the average amounts paid.  The current year uses the Funded FTEs; all years prior are restated annually using FTE Actuals.
  3. Tuition for British Columbia Institute of Technology is derived from the full-time Technology program.
  4. Tuition for the Justice Institute of British Columbia is derived from a Bachelor’s of Emergency and Security Management Studies.
  5. Tuition for Royal Roads University is derived from a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science.

BC Public Post-Secondary Institutions

Academic Year 2019/20

Institutions Fees Payable to the Institution1 Fees Payable to the Student Society2 Total Fees
Colleges 
Camosun College3 $0 $643 $643
Coast Mountain College $218 $83 $301
College of New Caledonia $224 $516 $740
College of the Rockies $657 $387 $1,043
Douglas College  $69 $807 $877
Langara College $177 $852 $1,029
North Island College  $255 $401 $656
Northern Lights College $177 $38 $215
Okanagan College $377 $395 $773
Selkirk College $500 $432 $932
Vancouver Community College  $188 $623 $811
Average $258 $471 $729
Institutes 
British Columbia Institute of Technology $204 $907 $1,110
Justice Institute of British Columbia4 $175 $0 $175
Nicola Valley Institute of Technology $60 $723 $783
Average $146 $543 $689
Teaching-Intensive Universities
Capilano University $264 $1,066 $1,330
Emily Carr University of Art and Design $293 $766 $1,058
Kwantlen Polytechnic University $304 $927 $1,230
Royal Roads University  $474 $770 $1,244
Thompson Rivers University $724 $1,322 $2,045
University of the Fraser Valley $533 $508 $1,041
Vancouver Island University $381 $438 $818
Average $425 $828 $1,253
Research-Intensive Universities
Simon Fraser University $251 $847 $1,098
University of British Columbia $226 $850 $1,076
University of Northern British Columbia  $474 $584 $1,057
University of Victoria  $178 $676 $853
Average $282 $739 $1,021
System Average $295 $622 $918

Source:  BC Public Post-Secondary Institutions, Fall 2019 tuition data submission

Notes: 

  1. Fees payable to the institution include registration fees, technology and laboratory fees, library fees, learning resource fees, ancillary fees, athletic and recreation fees, etc.  Fees payable to the institution have been subject to the 2% tuition limit policy since 2007. 
  2. Fees payable to the student society include Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) fees, U-Pass fees, student union building fees, optional health and dental fees, etc.  Student fee amounts must be approved by a majority of the student society.  Any rate changes must be approved by student society referendum.  Fees payable to the student society are not subject to the 2% tuition limit policy. 

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

 

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