Almost half of students returning to Canadian university campuses like the University of Victoria worry about their ability to pay for tuition during the 2020 fall term. (Facebook/University of Victoria)

Almost half of Canadian university students fear they cannot pay rising tuitions

COVID-19 also diminishing expectations for job market

Almost half of all students attending post-secondary worry about their ability to pay for tuition during the 2020 fall term.

The figure appears in a new report from Statistics Canada tracking tuition fees, which will be rising for both undergraduate and graduate students for the 2020-21 academic year.

Students enrolled full-time in undergraduate programs will pay, on average, $6,610 in 2020-21, up 1.8 per cent from the previous year. The average cost for graduate programs rose by 1.6 per cent to $7,304. The national figures match or exceed provincial figures for British Columbia, where undergraduate students will pay two per cent more heading into the fall of 2020.

This year’s increases come against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led many students to believe that they face diminished job prospects.

RELATED: Pandemic may fail foreign enrolment at Canadian universities

According to a study earlier in the summer, two-thirds (67 per cent) of participating post-secondary students told Statistics Canada that they were highly concerned about having no job prospects in the near future as a result of the pandemic.

Another earlier study of students returning to classes this fall paints an even darker picture, with almost eight out of 10 (77 per cent) saying they “were very or extremely concerned” about their finances.

While the federal government later announced additional support, 46 per cent of participants remained worried about their ability to pay for tuition for the 2020 fall term.

Undergraduate students in programs leading to degrees in dentistry ($22,562), medicine ($14,483), veterinary medicine ($14,270), law ($12,813), optometry ($11,235) and pharmacy ($11,133) pay the highest average tuition.

While figures vary depending on programs, students in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario generally pay the highest fees, with Newfoundland and Labrador at the bottom. British Columbia finds itself in the upper echelon.

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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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