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Economic Impact of International Education in Canada - An Update

5. Student Expenditure

In this section, we detail the sources of information and data we relied on and the techniques we applied to derive estimates of basic educational expenses and living costs while international students stay in Canada.

5.1. Tuition and Other Fees

5.1.1. Long Term Students

The average tuition fees and other fees paid by international students in different levels of study in each province and the territories are shown in Table 11.

Table 11 Estimated Tuition Fees and Education Related Expenses per International Student in Canada by Level of Study, by Province and territory, 2010
   University Additional  
 Secondary
or less
TradeAverageFeesBooksOther Post-
Secondary
Other 
Newfoundland
and Labrador 
$9,000$10,980$10,310$500$1,200$10,980$10,980
Prince Edward Island$10,000$22,710$23,340$500$1,200$22,710$22,710
Nova Scotia$8,000$12,990$12,390$640$1,200$12,990$12,990
New Brunswick$11,160$12,140$11,700$410$1,200$12,140$12,140
Quebec$7,945$16,220$15,990$630$1,200$16,220$16,220
Ontario$13,250$19,160$19,060$810$1,200$19,160$19,160
Manitoba$10,000$12,200$11,740$430$1,200$12,200$12,200
Saskatchewan$10,795$14,080$13,820$440$1,200$14,080$14,080
Alberta$9,830$17,900$17,640$820$1,200$17,900$17,900
British Columbia$13,430$16,890$16,850$520$1,200$16,890$16,890
Yukon, Northwest
Territories and Nunavut
 $8,300$7,490$360$1,200$8,300$8,300
Total$10,341$14,870$16,770$700$1,200$14,870$14,870

Source: RKA Estimates based on Statistics Canada TLAC survey and Other Sources

For tuition and other fees at the K-12 level, we have relied upon information published by provincial government reports in each of the provinces. Note that these are based on tuition and fees in a school year (10 months) from public school sources only. Tuition and fees in private schools can be substantially higher.

Detailed tuition fees for full-time university level international students for each of the provinces are available from Statistics Canada’s annual Tuition and Living Accommodation Costs (TLAC) survey.  Note that no data is available from the TLAC for the Territories.

We have not calculated an average of full time undergraduate and graduate tuition fees as we do not have a breakdown of the number of international students in each category. We have applied the average of undergraduate student tuition fees for calculation purposes. In addition, we have included “Additional Fees” which represent compulsory fees universities impose on both domestic and international students, such as facility fees, society fees, health and dental (for international students only) fees, student pass fees in some cases, and others.  We have also made an allowance of $1,200 per academic year for books.

We note that tuition fees for undergraduate students are for an academic year of eight months, although in some cases, students do take courses in summer programs.  We have assumed that all undergraduate international students are paying for the equivalent of one academic year’s tuition in a given year.

Nationally, the average tuition fees for international undergraduate students was $16,768 in 2010/2011, an increase of 5.2% over the previous year.  This increase in tuition fees for international undergraduate students was smaller than that of the previous year (+7.1%), and changes in tuition fees ranged from a decrease of 0.3% in Nova Scotia to a rise of 9.5% in Saskatchewan.[6]

In estimating student expenditure in tuition and other fees directly related to educational purposes for students in the “Trade” and “Other Post-Secondary” levels, we have derived the values in the following manner:

  • For tuition fees, we have applied a factor of 90% to the average university tuition fees in each province. Based on the data available from the TLAC, tuition fees in colleges providing university level training average about 90% of all training institutions surveyed.[7]
  • We have also assumed that international students in “Trade” and “Other Post-Secondary” levels of study pay on average the same amount of “Additional Fees” as university level international students.[8]
  • The same allowance for annual expenditure on books has also been applied.
  • For college international students in the Territories, tuition fees information has been derived from a number of colleges’ websites.

For international students in the “Other” category, since we don’t have any detailed information on the nature of their study, we have assumed that they pay the same level of tuition fees and other education related expenses as those in the “Trade” level of study.

5.1.2. Languages Canada Short Term Students

Information from Languages Canada indicates that short term language students pay an average $305 per study week for tuition fees.

5.2. Living Expenses

5.2.1. Long Term Students

We have also relied upon a variety of data sources to arrive at average living expenses for different levels of study. Information related to home-stay, average room and meals and other basic living expenses for international students in different levels of study is shown in Table 12.

Table 12 Estimated Accommodation and Related Expenses per International Student in Canada by Level of Study, by Province and territory, 2010
   University  
 Secondary
or less
TradeRoom & Meal
  Average
TransportOther Post-
Secondary
Other 
Newfoundland
and Labrador 
$6,500$9,9309,330$600$9,930$9,930
Prince Edward Island$6,500$13,27512,855$420$13,275$13,275
Nova Scotia$6,500$12,60012,060$540$12,600$12,600
New Brunswick$6,500$11,99011,640$350$11,990$11,990
Quebec$7,000$12,30511,805$500$12,305$12,305
Ontario$8,350$13,25512,435$820$13,255$13,255
Manitoba$6,500$12,81012,090$720$12,810$12,810
Saskatchewan$6,600$11,87511,475$400$11,875$11,875
Alberta$7,020$11,55010,650$900$11,550$11,550
British Columbia$8,080$12,81511,835$980$12,815$12,815
Yukon, Northwest
Territories and Nunavut
 $9,7408,400$1,340$9,740$9,740
Total$6,955$12,013$11,325$688$12,013$12,013

Source: RKA Estimates based on Statistics Canada TLAC survey and Other Sources

For calculating living expenses at the K-12 level, we have relied upon information published by provincial government reports in each of the provinces on average home-stay costs for a 10-month period.[9]

At the university level, we have relied upon Statistics Canada’s annual Tuition and Living Accommodation Costs (TLAC) survey data to calculate the average costs of on-campus room and meal expenses for an eight months period. Values in the column “University – Room and Meal Average” have been scaled up to full year values.

We note that these are fairly conservative estimates as they apply to single students living on campus. Students with a family generally pay more than the amount shown here in Table 12. We assess in Appendix 2 how total expenditure is affected by changes in living expenses.

We have also made allowances for transportation costs for students staying in different provinces and territories.[10] We have relied upon data from Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending (SHS), detailing household spending on public transportation, by province and territory, in 2009. The values we used refer to the median expenditure per household that reported using public transportation.  Values in 2010 have been adjusted for inflation between 2009 and 2010.

For students in other levels of study (trade, other post-secondary, and other), we have assumed that they spend the equivalent of what university students have to pay in an academic year (average room and meal and transportation costs).

Average costs of meals and accommodation for colleges in the Territories has been derived based on college websites. So has the estimate of transportation cost.

In addition to basic living costs as presented above, we have made an allowance of $2,500 per student per year ($1,500 for K-12 students) for discretionary expenses (such as eating out, recreational activities, and entertaining).

For each province and territory, in each level of study, the formula to calculate total expenditure is as follows:

Estimated number of students in that level of study x sum of (average tuition and additional fees, books, average room and meals, average transportation cost, average discretionary spending) per year = Total International Student Expenditure in one year in the level of study

5.2.2. Languages Canada Short Term Students

Information from Languages Canada shows that an average short term student spends $206 per study week for room cost. We have assumed $100 per study week for food, $35 for transportation, and $50 per week for discretionary spending, based on various institution websites which provide information on expense budgeting.

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[6] See University tuition fees

[7] We have also been provided by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education detailed tuition data for public college and university international students. Similarly, the average full-year tuition fees in colleges and university colleges are about 90% of the average of all public universities and colleges.

[8] The TLAC data does cover colleges and institutes providing university level of training.

[9] By using a 10-month home stay value we have assumed that international students in secondary schools or lower levels in the K-12 system spend on average 10 months each year and may return to home countries for vacation.

[10] There may be double-counting of transportation cost in this Table and previous Table 7, as some universities have included bus passes in their reported “Additional Fees”.

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Date Modified:
2013-12-31