Among the policy items discussed at the Prince Albert Catholic School Board’s (PACSD) Monday board meeting was the establishment of a tuition fee levy for non-resident students.
An annual measure rooted in Regulation 20 of the provincial Education Act, the levy helps school boards cover the necessary expenditures of admitting non-division and non-Saskatchewan resident students.
“That board policy hadn’t been approved for quite some time, and Regulation 20 had come out regarding a process within the province to ensure that the tuition fees and those kinds of things are standardized,” PACSD director of education Lorel Trumier said.
“Because of Regulation 20, we’re essentially doing what’s happening in the province. We always have -- it just never was updated in the policies.”
The chief financial officer of each school board charges the tuition fee levy to other school divisions, First Nations education authorities or the parents/guardians of non-Saskatchewan resident students.
While non-residents can include international students, most tuition fees paid to the two school divisions in the Prince Albert area cover the admission of students who live on-reserve -- areas which fall under federal rather than provincial jurisdiction.
“If that’s the case -- if they live on-reserve -- they would then be a non-division resident and then there would be tuition charged,” Trumier said.
She added that exemptions can occur for those who live within the Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division (SRPSD), citing Muskoday First Nation residents as an example.
“A student may have registered in the Sask Rivers School Division, lives in Muskoday, but then is a part of the system already,” Trumier said.
“Then we wouldn’t charge that tuition within that, because they’ve registered within the provincial system.”
We’re not talking about a large number that this impacts. Lorel Trumier
In the cases of students who live on-reserve, the federal government allocates money to the band which then pays the fees on behalf of the students.
Trumier estimated that the average cost of tuition fees in the Catholic school division is between $9,000 and $10,000 per student.
She described the number of PACSD students whose admission is covered through tuition fees as minimal, with perhaps one or two students per year.
“We’re not talking about a large number that this impacts,” she said.
By contrast, the number of SRPSD students covered by tuition fees is much larger.
The public school division charges tuition fees for 175 First Nations students in total, with a net tuition rate of $10,549 for the 2012-2013 school year.
“We obviously revise them each year in accordance to our actual costs that’s required under Regulation 20,” chief financial officer Donald Lloyd said.
He noted that Regulation 20 includes a number of items that are included in the calculation of tuition fees, such as capital and other costs.
“Really all it is is a formula and it states what items you're to include in the formula when you calculate your tuition fees,” Lloyd said.
“Again, the tuition fees are only charged to students attending from reserve, because they’re federally funded, not provincially funded … or international students who aren’t residents of Canada … They pay a tuition fee as well because they’re not citizens of Canada, they’re on a travel visa.
“Those are the only really two reasons you charge tuition.”