Yesterday, we noted that Canada hands out over $10 billion to its students each year. Of that, $6.6. billion goes to students in the form of tax credits or grants; another $700 million is spent on savings incentives of various sorts. All told, over 70% of the $10 billion is non-repayable.
How does that compare to what students spend on tuition? Well, this isn’t entirely straightforward. We know from CAUBO/Statscan statistics that in 2011-12, universities collected $7.37B in fees from students. What we don’t know is how much of this comes from Canadian students and how much comes from foreign ones. At best, what we can do is approximate. The Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) says that in 2011, there were 131,500 international students in Canadian universities, of whom roughly 12% are doctoral students. Stastcan says that in that year, international undergraduate fees averaged $17,500. Let’s assume that the doctoral students among them are paying zero, but the rest are paying full freight. That means: .88 times 131,500, times $17,500 = $2.025 billion in foreign student fees. And by extension, $ 5.35Bn in domestic student fees.
What about on the colleges side? That’s a little more fuzzy. For starters, the latest college data I have floating around the office is from 2007-08 (it’s a free email, people, you get what you pay for). It showed colleges collecting a little under $1.9 billion in fees (in $2011) from all sources, including continuing ed and trade-voc programs. Build in a wee bit of growth and we’re probably talking about something in the neighbourhood of $2.2 billion in terms of total fee intake.
What share of that is domestic? Again, it’s fuzzy. The CBIE data isn’t clear about colleges’ share of international students, but it’s probably the lion’s share of “trade” and “other PSE” combined, so call it about 18% of the 239,000 international students here in 2011, or about 43,000 in total (Colleges Ontario’s 2012 environment scan says there were 18,000 international students in Ontario alone in 2011, so that seems about in the ball park). We have absolutely no idea what international student fees are in colleges because nobody tracks that, but let’s really low-ball it and say the average is $7,000. That would imply international student fee income of about 300 million on the nose, and, by implication, a domestic tuition “take” of $1.9Bn.
So, just to tally things up here:
Total domestic tuition income in = $7.3 billion. That’s almost exactly, on the nose, what goes out in non-repayable aid to students and their families each year.
Net zero tuition. I’ll look at the implications tomorrow.