Approved international tuition guarantee

Supporting an excellent student experience

Students who come from around the world to be part of our Dal community make us a stronger, more dynamic university while also diversifying and strengthening our Faculties and programs.

To help provide international students — and all Dalhousie students — with a superior student experience, Dalhousie University is launching a new model for undergraduate international tuition that provides a tuition guarantee for incoming international students.

The proposal below has now been approved by the Dalhousie University Board of Governors and will be in effect for new international undergraduate students beginning their studies in Fall 2023 or later.

For more information on international fees, visit the Money Matters website.


The new model for international tuition

  • Provides future international undergraduate students with a tuition guarantee. The tuition price a student pays will be the same in each year of their program, offering students and their families with cost certainty in the face of external factors like inflation.
  • Adjusts Dal's international tuition fees to better align with those at similar Canadian universities. This increase in fees — like the tuition guarantee — will not apply to international students currently registered at Dalhousie, but only students starting Fall 2023 or later.

This new approach to international tuition will enable Dalhousie to make significant investments in our student experience, as outlined in section 6 of the proposal.

Review the new tuition model in detail

This proposal was published prior to Board approval to support additional student consultation and to provide future international students with a clear picture of what they could expect for Fall 2023 and later.

What is outlined in the material below has now been approved by the Board and is in the process of being implemented.

1. Proposal summary

As one of Canada’s leading research universities, Dalhousie University offers international students a world of opportunity in one of the most attractive postsecondary destinations in the country. Dalhousie currently welcomes more than 4,700 international students from more than 115 different countries. Over the past decade, our international student population has more than doubled — a 128% increase.
 
Students who come from around the world to be part of our Dal community make us a stronger, more dynamic university while also diversifying and strengthening our Faculties and programs. They bring unique cultural experiences and points of view and raise the international outlook and profile of our city, province and region. And a collective effort to retain international students in Halifax and Nova Scotia after graduation will help make our communities stronger.

To help continue to provide international students — and all Dalhousie students — with a superior student experience, Dalhousie University is proposing a new model for undergraduate international tuition that will offer a tuition guarantee for future students.

This model has been developed following extensive consultation with Dal’s academic leadership and with the support of an International Tuition Task Force. It is informed by research that surveyed more than 2,000 globally mobile prospective international students to help us better understand the perceived value of Dal’s programs and preferred tuition models. Similar approaches to international tuition are being used at the University of Alberta, the University of Windsor and a growing number of institutions around the world.

Our plan


The proposed tuition model will apply to international undergraduate students in select Faculties starting their programs in Fall 2023 and later.

Current international students, including those starting at Dalhousie in the 2022-23 academic year, will continue under the current tuition model.

Dal would provide new international students a tuition guarantee.

New international undergraduate students beginning their studies in Fall 2023 or later in the applicable Faculties and programs would benefit from a tuition guarantee for the duration of their program.

The price a student pays would be the same in each year of their program, with the rate held for up to five years of study.

This provides international students and their families with more clarity and confidence in the cost of their degree program — cost certainty in the face of external factors like inflation.

Included Faculties
The proposed changes will initially apply to international undergraduate students starting their degrees Fall 2023 or later in most programs across the following Faculties.
Additional Faculties or programs may be added in future years.

Agriculture

Arts & Social Sciences

Computer Science

Engineering

Management

Science

In conjunction with our tuition guarantee, we would be adjusting our international tuition fees (for future students) to better align with those at similar Canadian universities.

Dal’s current international fees are significantly lower than those at comparable research-intensive universities across Canada. We are undervaluing what we offer international students.

To support a guaranteed tuition price, and to bring Dal’s fees more in line with our peers, international tuition would increase in programs in which this new model applies — but only for those future students who would receive the tuition guarantee.

Tuition rates and the amount of increase would vary by Faculty. Full details on proposed pricing can be found in section 5.

We’re proposing this change to help us deliver the best possible student experience.

Our strategic plan, Third Century Promise, aims to place Dalhousie among the best universities in the country for our student experience. 

Our research, compiled through feedback from prospective international students, has found that by pricing ourselves below our peers, we create the perception of a lower quality academic and student experience — which contrasts with our strong reputation and status as one of Canada’s leading research universities. The added benefit of a guaranteed tuition price will help maintain Dalhousie as a destination of choice for international students looking to study and, in many cases, stay in Canada.

We’re committed to supporting international students at Dalhousie.

We want international students from around the world to continue to choose Dalhousie, growing and strengthening our international student population. We offer an exceptional experience in an extraordinary location. We also need to ensure international students have the supports they need to succeed and program enhancements to allow Dalhousie’s experience to continue to stay competitive with our Canadian peers. Some of the specific investments we plan to make to support international students include scholarships and bursaries, additional student supports, and improvement to academic buildings and learning spaces.

2. Dalhousie's international tuition guarantee

We want to provide international students and their families with a more complete picture of what their education will cost: a tuition guarantee.

The guaranteed tuition model for international students has become more popular among highly regarded peer universities both in Canada and across the world. The guarantee ensures students are given clear advice on how much they will owe for their full degree regardless of external factors, like inflation. The University of Alberta, the University of Windsor, University of California, Ohio State University, University of Oregon, Victoria University (Australia) have all shifted to a cohort-based guaranteed tuition model in recent years, with many more to follow.

Who it applies to

The tuition guarantee would apply to new international undergraduate students beginning their studies in Fall 2023 or later in most programs across the following Faculties:

  • Agriculture
  • Arts & Social Sciences
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Management
  • Science

These Faculties house the majority of Dalhousie’s international undergraduate students. This proposed list of Faculties applies for the 2023-24 academic year; programs in other Faculties may be added to the tuition guarantee in the future.

The tuition guarantee would not be available to:

  • current international students
  • international students starting in the 2022-23 academic year
  • international graduate students
  • international students in select professional programs
  • domestic students1
  • students outside of the Faculties listed above
  • students in select exempted programs within the Faculties listed above2

These students will continue their studies under the current tuition model, subject to standard tuition increases.

What it means

International undergraduate students who begin their degree programs in Fall 2023 or later will pay a fixed tuition price each year: tuition will not increase or decrease. This means students have stable, predictable annual tuition fees over the course of their degree.

The guaranteed price will vary by program (see section 5).

The price is guaranteed for the standard length of the program, plus one year. For most undergraduate students in four-year programs, the guarantee extends for five years. This means that if a student requires more time to complete their program requirements, they will not face additional tuition costs in their fifth year.

If a student takes longer than five years or more than 120 credit hour attempts (or corresponding credit hours required for specific programs) to complete their program requirements, they are subject to additional costs outside the tuition guarantee.

Other incidental fees will be subject to normal changes each year. These include the student service fee, the facilities renewal fee, the Dalhousie Student Union fee and other specialized course-specific fees.

Courses outside of a student’s core program(s), course repeats and additional courses will be subject to additional fees.

For a summary of particular student scenarios (transfers, deferrals, course repeats, etc.), see section 5.

* Dalhousie will continue to explore potential changes to domestic tuition as part of the annual budget planning process.
** Reasons individual programs may be exempt from the tuition guarantee include program requirements and structure, articulation agreements and other related factors. More details will be provided in 2023.

3. Re-aligning our international fees

In offering an international tuition guarantee, Dalhousie is providing cost certainty to international students while also taking on the risk of cost increases that may occur over the course of the degree. This means Dalhousie must forecast the anticipated costs of the degree over the duration of the guarantee and set prices accordingly.

At the same time, we recognize Dalhousie’s current international tuition rates are significantly lower than at similar Canadian universities (see section 4). This gap undermines perceptions of the quality of our programs and our student experience.

We want to take this opportunity to re-align our international fees to those of our Canadian peer institutions, better reflecting the quality of our academic offerings and providing resources to re-invest in providing the best possible student experience.

Who it applies to

The realigned tuition fees would only apply to students who receive the tuition guarantee. This would be new international undergraduate students beginning their studies in Fall 2023 or later in most programs in the following Faculties:

  • Agriculture
  • Arts & Social Sciences
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Management
  • Science

Additional Faculties may be added to the tuition guarantee model in future years.

The realigned fees would not apply to:

  • current international students
  • international students starting in the 2022-23 academic year
  • international graduate students
  • international students in select professional programs
  • domestic students1
  • students outside of the Faculties listed above
  • students in select exempted programs within the Faculties listed above2

These students will continue their studies under the current tuition model, subject to standard tuition increases.

What it means

New international undergraduate students who begin their studies in Fall 2023 would pay more for tuition in their first year than the current 2022-23 rates — but the price they pay would be guaranteed for up to five years of their degree program.  

The tuition price and amount of increase over current rates will vary by Faculty. A full summary can be found in section 5.

The proposed tuition prices have been set based on two criteria:

  • First, fees have been raised to the estimated average for 2023-24 international tuition (by Faculty) of our national comparator group.
  • Second, we have incorporated the price required to support the anticipated increased costs through the duration of a student’s program.

Dalhousie will set the tuition price annually for each new cohort of international students.

  • This means a student starting in Fall 2024, for example, would pay a different tuition price than a student who started in Fall 2023 — but both would have their respective price guaranteed for up to five years of their degree.
  • Each year’s adjustment will be considered through Dal’s annual budget planning process, supported by the Budget Advisory Committee.
1 Dalhousie will continue to explore potential changes to domestic tuition as part of the annual budget planning process.
2 Reasons individual programs may be exempt from the tuition guarantee include program requirements and structure, articulation agreements and other related factors. More details will be provided in 2023.

4. Comparing Dal’s international fees

Dalhousie’s current international fees are below average when compared to our Canadian peer group.

Comparison graph
Of the schools in Dal’s overall comparator group, Alberta and Western have comparable tuition guarantees for international undergraduate students.

This is very different than is the case for Canadian students, where Dalhousie tuition fees are above average and among the largest in our peer group.

DomesticTuitionComparison

5a. Summary of fee changes by Faculty

The following summarizes the changes to fees for international undergraduate students beginning their degrees in Fall 2023.

Why some Faculty’s fees are higher than others

Dalhousie strives to keep tuition rates competitive with other Canadian universities while reflecting the high quality of the programs we offer. Some programs are more costly to deliver than others due to materials, supplies and facilities. Demand, earning potential, and other market forces also influence program fees across the country.

As part of implementing our tuition guarantee, we are re-aligning Dal’s international tuition to the estimated average cost of programs at similar Canadian universities. Because these averages are different by Faculty, the amount of the re-alignment is different as well.

Excluded programs

Reasons individual programs may be excluded from the tuition guarantee include program requirements and structure, articulation agreements, and other related factors. Students should speak directly with their faculties for more information on excluded programs or visit the tuition calculator at dal.ca/admissions.

Co-op Programs

An operational team is currently working through additional student scenarios, like co-op programs, programs that are part of articulation agreements, as well as courses at partnering universities. They are engaging with Faculties for their insight and expertise over the coming weeks. More information will be available later this fall.

Pricing by Faculty

Faculty Current undergrad international tuition (2022-23) Canadian comparator range (2021-22)1 Proposed undergrad guaranteed international tuition (2023-24)  
Agriculture $22,437 $19-700-29,500 $25,950
Arts & Social Sciences $25,458 $16,620-$37,237 $31,900
Computer Science $26,613 $18,310-$52,707 $35,000
Engineering $29,660 $19,916-$58,231 $40,800
Management $26,660 $19,747-$44,380 $35,300
Science $26,613 $18,310-$39,197 $31,900
1 Dalhousie’s comparator group includes the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, Université Laval, University of Manitoba, McMaster University, Université de Montreal, University of Ottawa, University of Saskatchewan and Western University. This list represents Dalhousie’s peer universities in the U15 group of major Canadian research universities.

  • Agriculture comparators include only those schools with comparable programs: Alberta, Laval, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
  • Of the schools in Dal’s overall comparator group, Alberta and Western have comparable tuition guarantees for international undergraduate students

5b. Student scenarios

We understand every student has a different academic journey. The following examples highlight a series of scenarios that students may experience under the new tuition model. These scenarios use a Bachelor of Science student (Faculty of Science) as the example.

COMPLETION IN 4 YEARS

PROGRAM LENGTH +1 year
YEAR 1 YEAR 2 YEAR 3 YEAR 4 YEAR 5

$31,900

(+fees1)

$31,900

(+fees)

$31,900

(+fees)

$31,900

(+fees)

 
      120 credt hours
attempted and
earned
 

A Faculty of Science student received a tuition guarantee of $31,900 per year, totalling $127,600 for 120 credit hour attempts over the typical length of the program (four years). This scenario reflects the journey of a student who took a full academic course load for four years and successfully completed their credit requirements in that time.

 1 For information on fees visit dal.ca/moneymatters


EXTRA TIME TO COMPLETE: LEAVE OF ABSENCE

PROGRAM LENGTH +1 year
YEAR 1 YEAR 2 YEAR 3 YEAR 4 YEAR 5

$31,900

(+fees)

Leave of
absence, no
credits earned

$31,900

(+fees)

$31,900

(+fees)

$31,900

(+fees)

        120 credt hours
attempted and
earned

A Faculty of Science student received a tuition guarantee of $31,900 per year, totalling $127,600 for 120 credit hour attempts over the typical length of the program (four years) plus one additional year. This scenario reflects the journey of a student who took longer than four consecutive years to complete their program requirements. There could be a variety of reasons why a student could take longer than the four years, including a leave of absence or a lapse in registration.


EXTRA TIME TO COMPLETE: REDUCED COURSE LOAD

PROGRAM LENGTH +1 year
YEAR 1 YEAR 2 YEAR 3 YEAR 4 YEAR 5

$31,900

(+fees)

$31,900

(+fees)

$31,900

(+fees)

$31,900

(+fees)

 

(+fees)

        120 credt hours
attempted and
earned

A Faculty of Science student received a tuition guarantee of $31,900 per year, totalling $127,600 for 120 credit hour attempts over the typical length of the program (four years) plus one additional year. This scenario reflects the journey of a student who took longer than four years to complete their program requirements because they were taking four courses per term. In this case, the student paid their full tuition guaranteed amount of $127,600, so will only pay incidental fees in their fifth year.


ADDITIONAL CREDIT ATTEMPTS

PROGRAM LENGTH +1 year
YEAR 1 YEAR 2 YEAR 3 YEAR 4 YEAR 5

$31,900

(+fees)

$31,900

(+fees)

$31,900

(+fees)

$31,900

(+fees)

+ $3,190

(+fees)

    One failed
course
  120 credt hours
attempted and
earned

A Faculty of Science student received a tuition guarantee of $31,900 per year, totalling $127,600 for 120 credit hour attempts over the typical length of the program (four years) plus one additional year. This scenario reflects the journey of a student who failed courses or had repeated attempts, withdrew during the academic term, or took courses outside of program requirements. They require additional credit attempts beyond 120 but are still within their five year guarantee. Therefore, any additional courses required to complete their program will be charged on a per-course rate based on their guarantee. In the case of this Science student, the per course rate is set at $3,190.


SPRING / SUMMER TERM

PROGRAM LENGTH +1 year
YEAR 1 YEAR 2 YEAR 3 YEAR 4 YEAR 5

$31,900

(+fees)

$31,900

(+fees)

$31,900

(+fees)

$31,900

(+fees)

+ $3,190

(+fees)

    One failed
course
  120 credt hours
attempted and
earned

A Faculty of Science student received a tuition guarantee of $31,900 per year, totalling $127,600 for 120 credit hours attempts over the typical length of the program (four years) plus one additional year. This scenario reflects the journey of a student who took courses in the spring / summer term resulting in an additional cost for the year in which these courses were taken. This will not change the overall program total of $127,600 as payment is adjusted in the final year.

Please note: This does not apply to programs that have a full academic term in the spring/summer as part of their standard program requirements.


TRANSFER CREDITS

PROGRAM LENGTH +1 year
YEAR 1 YEAR 2 YEAR 3 YEAR 4 YEAR 5

$31,900

(+fees)

$31,900

(+fees)

+$7,975
(spring / summer
term tuition)

$31,900

(+fees)

$23,925

(+fees)

 
    One failed
course
120 credt hours
attempted and
earned
 

A Faculty of Science student received a tuition guarantee of $31,900 per year, totalling $127,600 for 120 credit hours attempts over the typical length of the program (four years) plus one additional year, however in this scenario the student was admitted after attending another post-secondary institution and had 30 eligible transfer credits. At the time of admission, the standard program guarantee is applied with a note indicating that the total does not include consideration of transfer credits and will be adjusted accordingly. In this scenario, the student received 30 transfer credits, therefore they will be assessed $95,700 for 90 credit hour attempts.

AP/IB/GCE Transfer Credits

Students entering directly from high school with Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and General Certificate of Education (GCE) credits, will have their tuition adjusted based on the number of eligible transfer credits. At the time of admission, the standard program guarantee is applied with a note indicating that the total does not include consideration of transfer credits and will be adjusted accordingly. Students will receive an updated tuition guarantee after the add/drop deadline of their first semester.

Students will receive a tuition adjustment for transfer credits awarded from their AP/IB/GCE courses up to a maximum of 12 credits at the beginning of their program, divided over the first and second term. If they are awarded more than 12 transfer credits from AP/IB/GCE, they will receive a tuition adjustment at the end of their program for transfer credits remaining. The tuition adjustment will be applied based on the chart below.

AP/IB/GCE Transfer Credits Awarded

First term tuition adjustment

Second term tuition adjustment

Final term tuition adjustment

3 credits

$3,190

n/a

n/a

6 credits

$3,190

$3,190

n/a

9 credits

$6,380

$3,190

n/a

12 credits

$6,380

$6,380

n/a

15 credits

$6,380

$6,380

$3,190

18 credits

$6,380

$6,380

$6,380

18+ credits

$6,380

$6,380

Remaining value

The costs in the chart above are modeled on a Faculty of Science student who received a guarantee of $31,900 per year, totalling $127,600 for 120 credit hours attempts over the typical length of the program (four years) plus one additional year.


Transfers within Dalhousie

If students under the guaranteed tuition model choose to transfer into a different Faculty at Dalhousie by applying through the typical admissions process, they will be subject to a new tuition guarantee as per their new Faculty.

 

6. Fulfilling our promise: Investing in our student experience

Among the goals of Dalhousie’s strategic plan, Third Century Promise, is to embark on a sustained campaign to be recognized as the best in Canada and among top ranked universities globally for a transformative learning and life experience, including expanded recruitment, retention and academic success of international students.

Our new international tuition model will enable us to improve our international programming and provide the resources Dalhousie and our Faculties require to make significant investments in our student experience.

Our plan is to provide Faculties engaged in the tuition guarantee with additional resources allowing for a mix of university-wide and Faculty-specific investments.

Priorities for university-wide investment will be determined through ongoing consultation with our students and our broader university community in the months and years to come. The following is a list of initial priorities that have been identified as key areas for investment.

Scholarships and bursaries

Dalhousie understands the importance of considering tuition increases alongside significant investments in student financial aid — an approach that balances Dalhousie’s budgetary need for tuition revenue with a commitment to providing robust financial resources to support access for those who need it the most. We plan to increase funding for merit-based scholarships and bursaries to international students, as well as increasing the funding available to international students under the financial assistance program.

Dalhousie currently spends 7.8% of total operating expenditures on scholarships and bursaries compared to an average of 5.4% at other U15 universities. Currently, about 30% of this financial assistance goes directly to international undergraduate students in the form of scholarships, bursaries, and financial assistance. These investments will continue to be top priorities under the new tuition model. We plan to:

  • Increase funding for merit-based scholarships and bursaries for international students, ensuring international students are well supported to pursue their studies at Dalhousie.
  • Increase funding to the student financial assistance program to ensure Dalhousie is accessible to a talented and diverse pool of international applicants from around the world. Awards will honour academic merit, leadership experience, community impact, and geographic diversity, as well as address funding gaps, particularly for those who are in the most financial need.

To ensure this funding is as beneficial as possible for students, Dalhousie has engaged a team of experts in international education to consult with students and support units alike and make recommendations for additional funding amounts and support mechanisms for fall 2023 and beyond.

Academic buildings and learning spaces

The student experience is impacted by the sufficiency and calibre of academic buildings and learning spaces. As we identify priorities for building additions and/or improvements we will be dedicating resources towards these investments.

Student supports

  • Direct investment to International Student Employment on the Halifax campus in 22-23
  • Increasing support and resources for international student admissions and enrollment processing
  • Increase in supports are planned within Student Affairs:
    • academic and career advising (Bissett Student Success Centre - Halifax & Student Success Centre, Truro)
    • student accessibility & accommodation advising (Student Academic Success Centre – Halifax & Student Success Centre, Truro)
    • immigration advising on the Halifax Campus
    • international student writing advising (Student Academic Success Centre – Halifax & Student Success Centre, Truro)
    • new university and community transition officers for international students and their families, providing institutional settlement and integration advice and referrals

International student supports

Dalhousie’s International Student Support Team (ISST) has invested $740,000 on projects over the last two years to support current international students as well as those who will be coming to Dalhousie under the new guaranteed tuition model, including:

  • Mandarin speaking advisor in the International Centre
  • International Writing Advisor in the Writing Centre

ISST will dedicate nearly $1 million in 2023 to support institutional and Faculty implementation of the new international tuition model.

Faculty-specific investments for international students

Faculties will use a combination of reallocated funds and increased revenue from the new tuition model to provide unique supports within their home programs or departments. Some examples of faculty-specific investments for incoming international students include:

  • Two new staff positions in the Faculty of Computer Science to support international student transition to first year, mentoring programs, early academic intervention and proactive advising, and faculty-based career development support for undergraduate students
  • A new staff position in the Faculty of Engineering to help recruit, retain and support international students, also advising on discipline choice, co-op and alternate pathways all critical to student success
  • 26 new Teaching Assistant (TA) positions in the Faculty of Science’s Math and Statistics courses to enable smaller-sized tutorials in key first- and second-year courses.
  • 1-2 new student advisors within the Faculty of Science who will be responsible for providing support and advising international undergraduate and graduate students, helping them navigate the Canadian academic and cultural environments, providing advice on program and course choice, and directing them to campus services as needed.

Additionally, we will be setting aside a portion of initial revenue as a contingency fund to ensure that any unexpected financial impacts of this new tuition model do not negatively affect the overall operating budget. 

7. How international fees help support our priorities

Dalhousie’s strategic plan, Third Century Promise, aims to further elevate and support the goals of our faculty, researchers, staff, and certainly our students as we collectively grow Dalhousie’s impact in our third century of achievement: improving our academic experience, pursuing ground-breaking research and innovation, and continuing our community impact.

The challenge faced by Dalhousie — as well as universities across Canada and in similar countries around the world — is achieving these goals in an environment where public funding does not keep pace with the costs or running a research-intensive university. This is why universities like Dalhousie increasingly rely on tuition fees to balance budgets and advance their priorities.

International students pay higher tuition fees than domestic students. This is the norm in Canada and many other postsecondary destination countries around the world. Canadian students benefit from subsidized education (though government grants to universities) that keep tuition rates well below the full costs of their degree programs. In Canada, international students generally pay higher tuition rates (differential fees) to cover the costs of delivering their programs and related supports, whereas universities receive tax payer-funded operating grants to partially subsidize program delivery to our domestic students. International students also often need and benefit from increased and unique supports (both university-wide and at the Faculty, school, department or unit level) and these are challenging to pay for without increased revenue.

Dalhousie’s international tuition is significantly lower than comparable Canadian universities. While Dalhousie’s domestic tuition fees rank amongst the highest in Canada in many programs, the same is not the case for international fees. Looking at peer universities similar to Dal in size and research emphasis — schools like Western, McMaster and the University of Alberta, as a few examples — Dalhousie’s undergraduate international tuition fees are significantly lower.

While some may consider it an advantage to have lower international tuition fees, the trade-offs are significant. Tuition represents the only revenue sources Dalhousie has control over to grow our capacity to invest in our student experience and overall impact. There is significant competitive space for Dalhousie to grow international tuition when you look at our peer group.

Our research, compiled through feedback from prospective international students, has found that by pricing ourselves below our peers, we create the perception of a lower quality academic and student experience — which contrasts with our strong reputation and status as one of Canada’s leading research universities. We do not want to undervalue one of the stronger student experiences available to international students looking to study in Canada — especially once we grow and strengthen it further with increased investments in our student experience.

Canada is a top destination for international students — and research from the Canadian Bureau for International Education shows that the top reasons students come to Canada are our reputation as a stable and safe country, our reputation and quality of education, and our sense of welcoming and tolerance — in addition to opportunities to stay and live in Canada after graduate.1 We know Dalhousie can offer all of these to students from around the world.

1 International Student Survey Benchmarking report, Canadian Bureau for International Education, 2021.

8. Proposal background and development

In 2020, Dalhousie launched an International Tuition Task Force (ITTF) to review and renew Dalhousie’s tuition model for international students with a particular eye to the following goals:

  • Meeting enrolment goals, including growth and diversification.
  • Ensure competitive pricing.
  • Providing an exceptional student experience, through high-quality programs and support systems, including financial aid and awards.

The ITTF’s core principles included

  • Promoting informed and optimal decision-making for students
  • Increasing transparency and clarity in Dal’s communications about tuition
  • Finding administrative efficiencies
  • Supporting a stable and predictable funding model
  • Ensuring Dal’s programs are competitive in the marketplace

To inform its work, the ITTF engaged CRi (Customer Relationship Index) Inc., a research firm with considerable expertise in post-secondary education planning, to launch a research study focused on globally mobile international students. Using a combination of panel companies, commercial databases, and student data from Dalhousie to ensure strong participation, the survey interviewed 2,072 prospective international students from around the world. By asking them to rate a variety of program options, CRi developed a model of student preferences among competing programs, taking into account the roles that the university, tuition fees, future tuition price certainty, offer of work integrated learning, scholarships and financial aid, and residence guarantees play a role in student decisions. This model was used to test a wide variety of scenarios encompassing competing program offers to help the university make informed decisions. Research showed that adopting a tuition guarantee (often referred to as “cohort pricing”) would be strongly valued by international students and would allow Dalhousie to offer the guarantee while adjusting its relatively low international tuition levels in line with comparators.

The initial incarnation of the ITTF worked throughout 2021 to develop an initial international tuition model proposal. In April 2022, a revised task force was assembled to build upon the work of the original task force and develop an optimal path, as well as requisites for success, in implementing the proposed cohort fee model, with particular attention to securing healthy enrolment pipelines and agreeing upon the right tuition rates and step increases, revenue sharing models, bridging approaches, and necessary investments (e.g., scholarships and financial aid, academic programs, recruitment, and student services).

The ITTF’s final proposal has been reviewed and endorsed by the university’s Budget Advisory Committee, Dean’s Council and President’s Executive team. Following consultation, it will be presented to Dalhousie’s Board of Governors for approval with implementation for new students beginning in Fall 2023.

International Tuition Task Force Membership

Initial Task Force (2020-2021)

Revised Task Force (2022)

Frank Harvey (Provost and Vice-President Academic)

Gitta Kulczycki (Vice-President Finance and Administration)

Adam Robertson (University Registrar)

Susan Robertson (Assistant Vice-President Financial Services)

Admissions and Student Recruitment: Kristen Sutherland

Assistant Vice-President Academic and International Student Support Task Force: Chris Moore

Finance/Student Accounts: Mary-Ann Rowlston/B. Grant

Global and Government Relations: Hebb/Balakrishnan Prithiviraj

Kim Brooks (Mgt), David Gray (Ag), Marty Leonard (Grad)

Dal Analytics: Claudia Rangel-Jimenez

International Centre: Kewoba Carter

Student Representatives: Jing Lu, Muyu Lyu                                 

Frank Harvey (Provost and Vice-President Academic)

Gitta Kulczycki (Vice-President Finance and Administration)

Adam Robertson (University Registrar)

Matt Hebb (Vice-President Global & Government Relations)

Cheryl Earle (Chief Financial Office and Assistant Vice-President Finance)

Sarah Sherwood (Chief of Staff, Vice-President Finance and Administration)

John Newhook (Dean of Engineering)

Andrew Rau-Chaplin (Dean of Computer Science)

Kim Brooks (Dean of Management)

Charles Macdonald (Dean of Science)

Emily Huner (Assistant Vice-Provost, Student Affairs)

Erica Gagnon (Project Manager)

Muyu (Murray) Lyu (International Student representative, student representative on Dalhousie Board of Governors)

 

 

9. Next steps

Board approval

This proposal has now been reviewed and approved by the university's Board of Governors as of November 2022.

Implementation

Following Board of Governors review and approval, Dalhousie will begin to implement the new international tuition model focusing on students looking to begin their studies in Fall 2023.


Q&A

The following are some of the more common questions raised about this new tuition model.

I’m a current international student. What happens to my tuition?

This proposal will not affect international students already studying at Dal. Current international students, including those starting at Dalhousie in the 2022-23 academic year, will continue under the current pricing model (annual fees subject to annual increases) until the completion of their degree.

I am a Kings student; how does this impact me?

At this time, international students at Kings will not be included in the new guaranteed tuition model and will continue under the existing tuition structure.

How have the proposed guaranteed tuition prices been calculated?

The tuition cost depends on which Faculty a student is enrolled in. The tuition price and amount of increase over current rates will vary by Faculty. The price a student pays would be the same in each year of their program, with the rate held for the standard length of the program, plus an additional year. 

The proposed tuition prices have been set based on two considerations: 

  • First, fees have been raised to the estimated average for 2023-24 international tuition (by Faculty) of the Canadian universities in Dalhousie's national comparator group.
  • Second, we have incorporated the price required to fund the tuition guarantee across the duration of a student’s program.

What does this proposal mean for domestic tuition?

This proposal does not apply to domestic students. Dalhousie will continue to explore potential changes to domestic tuition as part of the annual budget planning process.

My program is longer than 4 years — would my tuition price still be guaranteed?

The price is guaranteed for the standard length of the program, plus one year. This means that if a student requires more time to complete program requirements, they will not face additional tuition costs in their extra year. For programs that are five years long, the guarantee extends for six years.

If a student is in a four-year program and takes longer than five years or more than 120 credit hour attempts (or corresponding credit hours required for specific programs) to complete program requirements, they are subject to additional costs outside the tuition guarantee.

How would this affect me if I'm doing co-op terms? Or if my program is in association with another university?

An operational team is currently working through additional student scenarios, like co-op programs, programs that are part of articulation agreements, as well as courses at partnering universities. They are engaging with Faculties for their insight and expertise on specific student scenarios over the coming weeks. More information will be available later this fall.

When will this proposal become official?

The Board of Governors has approved this new tuition model as of November 2022.

Dalhousie will begin to implement the new international tuition model for students coming to Dalhousie in Fall 2023.