EDMONTON – Students will pay an additional $11,500 for a masterâ€™s in business administration if the province approves a new fee proposal from the business school at the University of Alberta.
Tuition for an MBA will jump to $34,700 â€” a 50-per-cent increase in the current fee of $23,217 â€” effective 2015-16, under the proposal submitted to the provincial government, dean of business Joseph Doucet said in an interview Sunday.
Business is the third faculty to apply for major increases, with law faculty seeking an increase of $5,874 on its $10,127 tuition and pharmacy applying for an additional $1,200.
â€œWhile it looks like a large increase, we have not increased our tuition beyond inflation since 2003,â€� said Doucet.
â€œAlso, these are globally competitive programsâ€� and the additional revenue is needed to make improvements in some aspects of the program, he added.
If the MBA increase is approved, tuition will be similar to the University of Calgaryâ€™s MBA fee of $32,462, but still well below other schools like the University of Toronto at $92,460 for an MBA and the University of British Columbiaâ€™s fee of $44,760.
An MBA is a specialized degree that can directly improve career prospects and earnings, said Doucett, adding there are about 350 MBA students enrolled in a part-time and full-time capacity in any year at the U of A.
About 10 per cent of the fee increase will go to bursaries and scholarships to assist students, he added.
Under provincial legislation, tuition increases are limited to inflation each year. But after two years of tight budgets, the government this summer said it would consider larger increases, called â€œmarket modifiers,â€� for specific faculties where Alberta tuition is much less than other Canadian schools.
Given recent funding cutbacks, â€œpeople can make a good case for increasing university funding, but not on the backs of students,â€� said Navneet Khinda, vice-president external for the U of A Studentsâ€™ Union.
â€œBasically, using the market modifiers idea is just another way to get around the legislated tuition cap,â€� said Khinda.
Meanwhile, the undergraduate experience is declining, she said.
â€œMany students have to take an extra year because not enough courses are offered each termâ€� to meet their requirements, she said.
In 2010, the province allowed large â€œmarket modifierâ€� increases in faculties of commerce, engineering and pharmacy.