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|
|Faculty of Kines & Rec Mgmt Tuition||$315.90|
|I H Asper School of Business Tuition||$723.60|
|Student Organization Fees||$68.13|
|Student Services Fee||$30.00|
|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.
- Run events
- 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
Faculties, Schools or Departments
Offering the Course
Agricultural & Food Sciences
Agricultural & Food Sciences
Art (School of)
Environment, Earth, and Resources
Kinesiology & Recreation
Management – Asper
School of Business
Music (Desautels Faculty)
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.
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!