Category: Governance
Number: GOV-090-045
Audience: All University employees
Issued: March 08, 2005
Revised: July 22, 2014
Owner(s): AVP (Resource Planning)
Approved by: Board of Governors
Contact: Associate Vice-President (Resource Planning) - 306-585-4387


The Board of Governors (Board) has the authority to set fees (Section 62 (k) of The University of Regina Act). This policy defines the process of consideration by which the Board approves the level of standard tuition or tuition increase annually, and non-standard tuition fees on a case-by-case basis.


The University aggressively exploits all appropriate avenues to generate revenue from sources other than tuition, including government funding, fundraising, cost recoveries, and academic entrepreneurial activities (e.g. new programming that generates surplus revenue).

The University also aggressively pursues cost containment, cost reduction and the internal re-allocation of its resources in order to minimize its revenue needs. In doing so, it eschews compromising the quality of the learning and working environments and the range of other services provided to students, alumni, employees, researchers, and the community at large. It devotes sufficient resources to address its strategic risks with regard to its mission and goals.

In setting tuition levels, careful consideration is given to a wide variety of relevant factors. Setting appropriate tuition levels is not simply a budget-balancing exercise. Only after other means of balancing the University’s budget at an appropriate level of expenditure have been exhausted will tuition increases be implemented.

The University continues its strong commitment, through fundraising campaigns, partnership arrangements, promoting improved student assistance programs, the maintenance and expansion of co-op activities and student employment, placement services and career counseling, and other means, to expand the amount of funding available to its students, during and subsequent to their studies, to help finance the costs of their university education.

Principles - Standard Tuition

The University of Regina requires sufficient revenue to provide programs and services at a level of quality comparable to other Canadian universities with similar missions. On this basis, the programs and services at the University of Regina should not have a cost of delivery that differs significantly from costs for similar activities at most other Canadian universities.

Recognizing that graduates of the University experience significant monetary and non-monetary rewards from the knowledge, skills, and credentials obtained through university studies, it is appropriate that students pay a portion of the costs of operating the University. It is also reasonable that students and their families save or incur debt to finance this valuable personal investment with life-long returns. It is in the interests of the University, its students, its potential students, and society in general, however, that tuition is no higher than necessary to contribute to the University’s revenue requirements. Ideally, no qualified student would be denied access to the University for lack of sufficient resources, institutional and personal. Public policy considerations indicate that there are more efficient and equitable means of addressing barriers to access than artificially suppressing tuition increases below the level of annual increases in the University’s costs. The University is committed to working with other parties, particularly the Government of Saskatchewan, to identify and realize the most appropriate means of eliminating financial barriers to access to the University.

Potential student demand for a program and demand for graduates of the program are relevant in setting tuition.

Principles - Non-Standard Tuition

The following principles are to be taken into account in making determinations with regard to both the establishment and distribution of non-standard tuition fees.

  • Flexibility - The basis for the setting and allocating non-standard tuition needs to be flexible; different models need to be considered depending on the circumstances and the nature of the program. The mechanism suggested in each case for allocating the non-standard tuition revenue should be simple and reasonable, and acknowledge efforts entailed as well as the opportunities created.
  • Incentives – Incentives encourage and reward new programming initiatives undertaken by Faculties. Faculty incentives will be considered as a percentage of the non-standard tuition revenue, and reflect the impact of the program on the reputation of the University and its contribution to the University’s goals.
  • Costs – The full costs of the initiative must be identified and taken into consideration in both setting the tuition fee and allocating the non-standard tuition revenue.
  • Market forces – Potential student demand for the program and demand for graduates of the program are relevant in setting tuition.
  • Application – In application, the policy will consider what is done elsewhere and reflect Best Practice where appropriate.

Rationale for Establishment of a Non-Standard Tuition Fee

In order for a request to implement a non-standard tuition fee to be considered, at least three of the following criteria must be met.

  • The fee will be applied to a newly developed or significantly modified program that has been targeted to a particular group of students.
  • Non-standard tuition fees are required in order to ensure that the University is appropriately compensated for the specialized components and additional costs associated with offering the program.
  • Tuition fees are necessary in order to compensate for the costs associated with program delivery that are additional to what would normally be provided.
  • Such programs typically have non-standard tuition fees at other universities.
  • Development of the program is supported by a feasibility study that demonstrates both the opportunity and potential.

Roles and Responsibilities

Board of Governors

  • Approves changes in tuition rates annually
  • Approves new non-standard tuition fees on a case-by-case basis

President and Vice-Chancellor

  • Submits to the Board of Governors an annual proposal for changes in tuition, as a companion to the Comprehensive Budget Plan
  • Recommends approval of non-standard tuition fees to the Board of Governors
  • Approves the distribution of non-standard tuition revenues

Associate Vice-President (Resource Planning)

  • Reviews factors relevant to tuition levels at the University and proposals from Faculties
  • Provides advice, analysis and documentation regarding proposed tuition levels and the introduction of new non-standard tuition rates

Faculty or Unit

  • Submits proposals for non-standard tuition fees to the Associate Vice-President (Resource Planning)

Consequences for Noncompliance

Noncompliance with this policy when setting standard tuition rates may lead to the University not having sufficient revenue to provide programs and services at an acceptable level of quality, or to tuition being higher than necessary which would place excessive financial burden on students and may result in qualified students not having sufficient resources to attend the University.

If a faculty or unit does not follow the approval process for requesting a non-standard tuition fee, the fee may not be implemented on a timely basis and no supplemental revenue would be available to that faculty or unit to offset the additional costs of the program.

Employees who implement a non-standard tuition fee without prior approval may be subject to disciplinary action.


Setting Standard Tuition

  • In the annual Comprehensive Budget Plan presented for approval to the Board, a description of the following is included:
    • efforts and accomplishments in generating additional revenue for the University; and
    • efforts and accomplishments in containing and reducing costs and re-allocating resources in ways that do not impair quality, create increased risk to the mission, or defer reasonable expenditures.
  • The proposal to the Board for changes in tuition will contain the following information, to the extent it is available through reasonable efforts:
    • a description of efforts and accomplishments in increasing sources of funding for students of the University;
    • the level of tuition and tuition increases anticipated at other universities in the region and nationally;
    • comparisons of the overall level of institutional revenue with revenue at other Canadian universities, adjusting for size and program mix and using recognized data sources;
    • relevant information on the student assistance environment, graduate debt loads and repayment experience, graduate employment rates, and the return on investment in university education;
    • relevant information on changes in other costs experienced by students at the University of Regina and elsewhere; and,
    • a discussion of how the foregoing factors have influenced the determination of the proposed tuition increases.

Setting Non-Standard Tuition

The following considerations will be taken into account in the establishment and distribution of non-standard tuition fees and should be addressed in the proposal from the faculty or other academic unit, where applicable:

  • Demand – A proposal should include an estimate, supported by available evidence, of potential student enrolment demand for the program along with the employment demand for graduates of such a program and impact that such a program could have on the regional and national economy. It should also include an estimate of the number of new students to the program – particularly those who might otherwise not attend the University.
  • Business Plan – A proposal should be accompanied by a realistic budget request that clearly describes the additional costs to be incurred by the unit, including: development costs, operational costs and administrative (or overhead) costs, and capital costs. Costs may be one-time or require permanent funding. The budget should also contain revenue estimates, including tuition revenue, and a proposal for the sharing of the anticipated revenue from the non-standard portion of the tuition. Mechanisms for annually adjusting the funding allocation should be clearly described.
  • Fee description – The fee that is established for the program will be based on the program costs plus incentives and overhead costs. A proposal should include a plan for any phasing-in of students who are currently in the program, if any.
  • Institutional costs – The offering of a program that has a non-standard tuition fee may result in increased costs to various support units on campus (e.g. Student Affairs, Financial Services, Registrar’s Office, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research). Such (overhead) costs should be estimated as a percentage of the non-standard tuition fee and will be allocated to the centre.
  • Library costs – A proposal should include the costs of the additional library requirements and how they will be funded (e.g. budget transfer from academic unit).
  • Student support – The need to provide scholarship and bursary assistance to students in the program should be addressed.
  • Pilot offerings – The University may choose to allocate its share of the fee revenue as seed funding for the first year that the program is offered.
  • Programs offered jointly with Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) – Proposals for programs developed and offered through the Centre for Continuing Education will propose a fair fee sharing agreement to reflect the involvement of CCE, the home faculty and the University.

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