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The University of Toronto announced that starting this fall it is reducing its tuition rate for most international Ph.D. students to the lower rate paid by domestic students. Because Ph.D. students typically get four- to five-year funding packages covering the cost of their tuition and fees, the practical effect for students will be felt when those funding packages run out. Although funding packages vary across the university, some programs, for example, offer students one year of funding for a master’s degree and four years of funding for the Ph.D.

“As we all know, it often takes students longer than four years to complete a Ph.D.,” said Joshua Barker, dean of the School of Graduate Studies and vice provost of graduate research and education at Toronto. “We’ve been hearing for some years that at the point where international students come out of their funding packages, that’s when there’s a real differential between domestic students and international students, where international students have to pay a significantly higher fee, so that’s what’s going to be changed. I’m hoping that this change will have the effect of, on the one hand for our current international students, reducing the anxiety about what it might feel like to enter into the fifth year as they do their financial planning. But also more broadly for students who are considering applying for different doctoral programs, if they’re looking at the totality of what it's going to take financially to do those programs, this is going to put us in a more competitive position.”

Barker said the tuition rate for domestic Ph.D. students is currently about 8,500 Canadian dollars (about $6,837) compared to about 22,600 Canadian dollars (about $18,179) for international students. He said the change will not affect students in Toronto's doctor of education, juridical science and musical arts programs.