The University of Prince Edward Island and Holland College will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars more in taxes when the harmonized sales tax is introduced on P.E.I. in April.

'The provincial portion of the HST … we will receive zero rebate.'  — UPEI comptroller Tara Judson

UPEI sat down with government accountants to go over its budget, and jointly came up with an estimate of $400,000 more a year in tax. Holland College says it received a letter from the province estimating the school's costs will go up $375,000 a year with the new tax.

The increases come because, unlike businesses, the two schools will not receive a full rebate of the tax.

"We'll continue to receive that 35 per cent rebate on that federal portion [as with GST]," said UPEI comptroller Tara Judson, "however there's the provincial portion of the HST, which is the nine per cent, and we will receive zero rebate on that."

Utilities, such as heating and electricity, will make up the biggest tax increase for the university. The school will also pay more for maintenance and repairs, databases and international travel, and utilities.

Budgets revisited, tuition in question

With no new revenue expected from the province, the university is trying to find ways to make up for the loss.

'It's going to be a bit of a challenge for us.' — Holland College CFO Ken Heckbert

"We're actually asking our departments to look where they can find efficiencies or maybe create new revenues as well," said Judson.

"We look at this as one of our planning pieces in our entire budget. We have other cost pressures and we have other areas of revenue that we need to look at. It's like anything else."

Judson won't know until spring whether the extra taxes might mean higher tuition.

Holland College CFO Ken Heckbert said his school will be going through a similar process.

"You never like seeing your costs going up, so $375,000, you know, it's going to be a bit of a challenge for us," said Heckbert.

"But we work through the process every year and we will work through the process this year as well."

He said the college, like UPEI, will know by the spring how the extra costs will affect its budget and tuition.

For mobile device users: Should universities and colleges get the same HST rebates as businesses?