Tuition Policy


Policy Statement

It is the policy of Seneca College that all interested and qualified persons should have the right to access and participate in a College educational experience, and that those students who have the will and ability to pursue postsecondary education should not be denied the opportunity to do so for financial reasons.

Therefore, Seneca College will endeavour to allocate sufficient resources to fulfil its mission, goals and strategic objectives. To do this, Seneca will pursue all revenue generating opportunities including provincial/federal grants, fundraising initiatives, commercial opportunities and entrepreneurial activities. Subject to Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities policy and guidelines, it is expected that students and their families will also make financial contributions through affordable and sustainable tuition and related mandatory and ancillary fees.

The Board of Governors will ensure Seneca utilizes all revenues and/or tuition fees to support student access, quality educational programs and services and to maintain financial accountability and viability (Appendix A).


  1. The College will ensure its strategic initiatives are implemented to meet and/or exceed other postsecondary institutions' standards of quality, access and financial accountability through internal and external quality indicators.
  2. Funding of postsecondary education is a shared responsibility between the government, the institution, the individual and the private sector.
  3. Tuition Fees are an essential source of revenue for colleges and should be predictable to enable students and the College to plan their finances.
  4. Tuition fees shall be communicated through the Board of Governors and will include all program/course fees borne by the student or sponsoring organization that include both regular fee and high demand programs.
  5. Tuition Policy shall balance quality, access and funding in order to support a diverse program mix of College certificates, diplomas, graduate certificates and applied degrees, through regular and high demand program fees.
  6. Tuition fees shall be determined in a transparent, reasonable and timely manner and will include consultations with students/student organizations.
  7. Tuition and ancillary fees will be predictable and linked to improvements in quality education, student financial aid policy, student services and accessibility.
  8. The Board of Governors shall consider an appropriate portion of any tuition fee increase be set aside to improve student bursaries and scholarships.
  9. Tuition fees may be set lower in order to further promote Seneca's access mandate.
  10. International Tuition/Visa Student Fee are established at a higher rate and charged to non-Canadian citizens who do not otherwise qualify for Ontario or the Canadian fee rates, based on federal or provincial agreements.  International fees will be based on competitive market considerations and should cover the entire cost of the education provided.


Where tuition increases are proposed, the tuition recommendation will normally provide specific reference to:

  • New initiatives to improve the learning environment;
  • Program quality restoration to reverse the impact of inadequate funding;
  • Insufficient government grants;
  • Inflation and/or other cost increases;
  • Program specific student assistance requirements arising from the tuition recommendation: and/or
  • Specific access initiatives for those students who would not normally be able to attend College due to financial barriers.


During the budget review and approval process, the Board will be provided with initiatives and accomplishments in:

  1. generating additional revenue for the College;
  2. containing and reducing costs; and
  3. re-allocating resources in ways that do not impair quality, accessibility or defer reasonable expenditures;

When considering changing the level of tuition, the Board will consider:

  1. increased sources of fundraising revenues;
  2. available funding and assistance for students;
  3. the level of tuition and tuition increases anticipated by other Colleges regionally, provincially and nationally;
  4. comparisons of institutional revenue of other provincial Colleges, adjusting for size and program mix; and
  5. other relevant information related to the student assistance/financial aid environment, such as: accessibility programming and participation in College education; graduate debt loads/repayment experience; and graduate employment rates.

Appendix A

Tuition policy definitions of quality, access and financial accountability

1. Quality

a. The College's Strategic Plan 2004-2009 is to provide a superior quality education experience defined as:

"Students are the central focus of Seneca's purpose and mission. Student success and satisfaction at Seneca will be ensured through expert faculty and staff, relevant curricula, increased access opportunities to lifelong quality learning experiences, informed course and program choices, varied delivery options, and appropriate supports that are timely and targeted to individual student needs."

- 2004-2009 Seneca College Strategic Plan.


"Seneca College is committed to the continual development of a superior quality education experience through our…" Seneca College Academic

-Plan 2004-2009

  • Expert faculty and staff
  • Current and relevant curriculum
  • Strong partnerships with leading institutions, nationally and internationally
  • Innovation in teaching practices, including new technologies
  • Comprehensive program review and continuous improvement
  • Industry linkages including advisory committees, co-op, field placement, internship opportunities for students
  • State of the art learning facilities and resources, specialized laboratories, instructional capital
  • Innovative applied research opportunities for student and faculty
  • Academic community that is dynamic, supportive and enabling"

2. Access


"Accessibility: A commitment to strategic learner-centred access, and more efficient pathways to learning success"…which considers admissions polices, special needs, financial and physical barriers, academic preparedness, definitions of "community, and the dissemination of information."

- (New Seneca "Leading the Way Again" – A Business Case for Differentiated Status, 2002)


"Seneca will become the Canadian model for the creation of access opportunities to higher education and training…by:

  • Extending counselling, financial and other supports that promote access, retention and student success;
  • Making available multiple entry and bridging opportunities from college prep through post graduate programs;

- (Seneca College Strategic Plan 2004-2009)


"Accessibility: Around the world, more and more young people are realizing the benefits of pursuing postsecondary education. However many of them face barrier to accessing and completing higher education, as well as regional and local challenges."

- [Ontario – A Leader in Learning 2005 Report]

d. Government Plan to Improve Quality and Access in Post Secondary Education.

The goal: improving the quality of higher education and increased access and ensuring accountability." [Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities Tuition Announcement, 2006]

3. Financial Accountability

  1. Affordability – financial assistance for qualified students in need [Portals and Pathways Report of the Investing in Students Task Force]
  2. Financial Process Reviews - Active reviews and assessments of current financial student assistance programs and amend, modify and expand existing programs to develop greater financial assistance and address issues of accessibility. (BOG Retreat 2006)
  3. Financial Barriers [Seneca Admission and Accessibility Task Force, 2003]
    • Improve scholarship, bursary and loan assistance for both local and visa students;
    • Make financial information available on the web to help families plan financial commitments.

NB. For the purpose of this policy, the Ministry definitions/guidelines associated with tuition fees for "regular fee programs" and "high demand programs" shall be used.