What Does Tuition Include? – We All Have Asked The Question, Lets Hear Some Answers

People usually complain about the terrible service they get at their university, and wonder where their tuition goes.  When you pay your tuition it gets broken down a bit so you can see where each penny goes, but it doesn’t go too in depth into each category.  Since I’m no longer at the university and it’s difficult to find such answers on their website, I’m going to try and cover this in a general way so it can be applied to whichever school you go to, whether it’s a university or college, in Canada or the US.

So What Does Tuition Include?

Below is one term at the U of M, and as you can see there are a pile of different fees that determined where my money went.  I’ll do my best to explain where it all goes so you can relate it to your school.

Agriculture & Food Science Tuition $342.90
Endowment Fee $45.15
Faculty of Kines & Rec Mgmt Tuition $315.90
I H Asper School of Business Tuition $723.60
Lab Fees $30.00
Library Fee $35.00
Registration Fee $35.00
Science Tuition $318.60
Student Organization Fees $68.13
Student Services Fee $30.00
Tech Fee $75.00
UMSU Health and Dental Fees $226.55
Payment- Web Banking $4,173.21

Agriculture & Food Science Tuition – I was in Agriculture but I had courses all over the place that were required for my program. It looks like I only had 1 course that semester and that was the cost of it.

Endowment Fee – This is a tricky one because I don’t think any other universities have this. Its basically a rainy day fund and anyone can apply to use money from the collective pool.  There will be a committee that decides which applications are accepted and they disperse the money accordingly.  They use roughly 80-100% of the money each year to try and increase their wealth by investing it.  Requests to the endowment fund can include:

  • New couches for the student lounge
  • Replace obsolete equipment
  • Create new scholarships
  • Start up new programs
  • Help pay for field trips

I should go on mention that it allows the Faculty as a whole to control where money should be allocated.  Getting money from the University can be difficult and this gives them alternate means of getting things paid for.  It was a hot debate in school because some of the things they were paying for should be paid for with tuition, but that’s an argument for another day.

Faculty of Kines & Rec Mgmt Tuition This was an elective I took and as you can see, it cost less than my one agriculture course.  Every faculty has different tuition costs and I can show you a table near the end of the post.
I H Asper School of Business Tuition This is for my 2 business courses that I took which were around $361.8- per course and were the most expensive cost-per credit-hour of the semester.
Lab Fees – This was a fee that I hated paying because I seldom had any labs.  In fact, I never even had one that semester, yet I had to pay for the service.  In their defence, these labs need updating, and with a tuition freeze on campus for a decade, they need to get clever in collecting money.
Library Fee – This was charged to every student to maintain our libraries.  Only stepped foot in the library once, but I didn’t mind paying this fee because they were always making changes to the libraries and I felt that they were using their money well.  At least they didn’t make any useless updates/upgrades when I was there.
Registration Fee – Again, every student has to pay this one no matter what the size of the course load they were doing. I imagine it was another way to get $700,000 each year to help pay the administration costs of registration.
Science Tuition – My one science course and I was surprised to see that one as low as it was compared to the other faculties.
Student Organization Fees – These is the fee that each student gets charged to help support the student union.  Many students debate if the union is needed… but again, an argument for another day.  This pays for the executive salaries, as well as all of the businesses expenses and other kinds of admin expenses that would take too long to list here.
Student Services Fee – This was the fee that I was charged becasue I was a part of the Agriculture & Food Science Faculty.  Each faculty has their own student group to represent their faculty and bring matters to the main student union.  They used these funds for…
  • Run events
  • scholarships
  • Help maintain the student lounge
  • Pancake breakfasts
  • Plan conferences
  • Host industry functions and career fairs

Every student should take advantage of their student groups, if you go to 1 or 2 events you get your money’s worth.  Some students go to nearly all of the events and there were probably 150 events each year from our faculty student group alone!

Tech Fee – I can safely say that the U of M had decent computers in their labs.  There’s nothing worse than terrible computers when you’re trying to finish a project on time.  I’m sure this fee also goes into their software that they use at the university.  They made several changes which helped increase the usability of the university website as well as make it a hell of a lot easier to sign up for courses.  All in all, I don’t really mind paying this fee either.

UMSU Health and Dental – This was a health plan that our student union (UMSU) had to help out the students.  It was actually a decent plan that covered a little bit of everything and all it takes is one visit with the dentist for it to pay for itself.  If you already had a decent plan you could opt out of this. I never did becasue I was covered partially under my mom’s health plan, and with the UMSU one I was able to get everything covered to 100%… and it included stuff like massages.

U of M Faculty Specific Rates

Canadian Student Rate
Faculties, Schools or Departments
Offering the Course
3 credit
6 credit
Agricultural & Food Sciences
Agricultural & Food Sciences
Agriculture Diploma
Art (School of)
Environment, Earth, and Resources
(Riddell Faculty)
Human Ecology
Kinesiology & Recreation
Management – Asper
School of Business
Medical Rehabilitation
Music (Desautels Faculty)
Social Work

In conclusion, tuition at the U of M is cheap compared to many other universities, except if you’re an international student. If you are, feel free to multiply the above numbers by 3!

Beware Of The Tuition Freeze!

Now I don’t agree with the tuition freeze for various reasons.  When there is a freeze on you will notice that the cost-per credit-hour will stay the same, but there will be new random fees added to your overall bill.  This is where the “tech fee” and the “lab fee” comes from.   Another thing worth mentioning, tuition is not broken down between faculties like you might think, at least not at the U of M anyway.  Your tuition goes into a “big pot” and then it gets dispersed to faculties as administration sees fit.   As far as business goes, it’s not the best way to do your accounting.   This also makes things difficult when you’re trying to see where every dollar goes from your tuition.

Ancillary Fees

I’m surprised that I didn’t see this on my bill, but many universities charge this fee to cover anything else that they might have missed.  This will include general maintenance, gym programs, and the book store, as well as help support any school services such as the copy center.

Universities Will Make Money

Teacher Man mentioned his theory on the monopoly on post secondary education and I’d say he’s pretty accurate.  If you look at any university mandate it will go on to say that the said institution will make money.  Be aware of your tuition bill and don’t be shy to ask questions about it.  You can argue your fees if you want, but thousands of other students probably do the same thing and they never got anywhere so there is little chance you will.  At least when you go to your lab and deal with terrible equipment, make a fuss and demand to know where your “lab fee” is going.  That usually generates more of a response than if you just refuse to pay the fee at all.

Just what does tuition include? Are there any university professionals out there that can shed some light? Does your tuition include some questionable fees? Share them below!

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
12 years ago

Endowment fee? Gotta love that one! Make sure you save copies of your tuition bills so you can share them after you graduate with the telemarketers from the Endowment fund!

12 years ago

Great advice about asking questions – From my experience at my undergraduate work and grad school, most university administrators are very responsive to student inquiries. Keeping students happy helps them in the long run, so they will do their best to explain where it is going. This may not happen everywhere – just my experience.

12 years ago

Ya that endowment fee got some people a little bit heated. But than again, the government had a freeze on our tuition for so long they had to something I guess.

12 years ago

Questions are always good, the sad part is if its a touchy subject sometimes administrators will just “wait it out” knowing that the student will move on to their next year. This is more of a residence issue than anything I’m sure since very few people live there for more than one or two years.

6 years ago

good information about Tuition Include

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Share This