After weeks of speculation and proposed advanced-post secondary funding with the 2023 Budget, NAIT’s Board of Governors has agreed to increase tuition for 126 programs in the 2023/2024 academic year. The range of increases will depend on course load and program, but are all within the framework established by the Alberta government. NAIT argues that the tuition rates must reflect the realities of today. “The cost to deliver many of our programs continues to increase [and] government funding has declined,” said NAIT VP Academic Peter LeClaire in the announcement email to students.
LeClaire also explained that even with the increase, domestic tuition covers less than 24 per cent of program cost. “The balance of the cost is supported by government funding and other revenue sources, like ancillary operations and training contracts.”
NAIT says its tuition remains “comparatively low” compared to other Alberta post-secondary institutions. “We are committed to offering students the highest quality, industry-relevant education they expect,” he added.
In an emailed statement to the Nugget, a NAIT spokesperson says the change was needed. “The tuition increase is needed to help NAIT keep up with the rising costs of providing the quality instruction and programming that students expect and that industry needs, while reducing our reliance on government funding.” NAIT also confirmed the proposed tuition cap “does not play a factor in the increase planned for the 2023/24 academic year. “
The statement also says there were multiple factors involved when determining tuition increases, like program demand, the cost to deliver the programs, and market comparisons with other post-secondaries. NAIT also confirms external factors were involved: “Funding provided by the Government of Alberta has declined substantially over the last few years and significant inflation over the past 12 months continues to increase the cost of delivering many programs.”
As part of the results of a judicial review sought by NAITSA in September of 2022, NAIT must “meaningfully consult” with NAITSA. “NAIT did meaningful consultation with us prior to sending the proposed tuition increases to the board for approval and we are happy that starting [in 2024/25], students will be able to have predictable and affordable tuition that was announced by the government,” said Renata Medeiros, NAITSA VP Academic. Medeiros refers to the 2 per cent cap on annual domestic tuition that was announced early February by the Government of Alberta.
The increase will vary between 1.83 per cent to ten per cent for domestic students, while four programs will see no increase. The average increase across all programs, 5.5 per cent, falls within the acceptable increase according to the Consumer Price Index and Government of Alberta guidelines.
NAIT says all 28 apprenticeship programs will increase tuition by ten per cent. Earlier this week, Kaycee Madu, Minister of Skilled Trades and Professions, announced that these programs would receive help from the 2023 Budget if passed. The email from NAIT states this change was necessary to reflect costs. “This tuition increase is necessary to ensure we can continue to offer high-quality apprenticeship training that meets the changing needs of industry while reflecting the increasing costs of delivering these programs.”
NAIT says it’s still too early to understand how a tuition cap could impact future decisions. However, the institution confirms more increases may be on the horizon. “We anticipate tuition increases in 2024/25, especially as inflation continues to impact program delivery costs,” the statement explained. It also says NAIT will continue to work within the provincial Tuition and Fees Regulations when setting future tuition rates.
Cover photo via NAIT Content Collective