Many students at the University of Saskatchewan will be facing a tuition hike of just over four per cent next fall.

The largest number affected by the hike are students in the College of Arts and Sciences, which make up 40 per cent of those enrolled at the U of S. Approximately 9,000 students are enrolled in its programs. They'll see an average tuition increase of 4.15 per cent next year. 

"Tuition increases are not responses to provincial budgets," said Peter Stoicheff, the dean of Arts and Science. "They're not responses to unique budgetary situations that the university finds itself in, such as most notably right now, TransformUS. Tuition increases are separate from these things."

Other programs including law, nursing, veterinary medicine and engineering will see an increase of up to 5.5 per cent. Graduate students will see an average hike of four per cent, while dentistry won't raise its fees at all. 

"It is a little bit discouraging just cause I feel like students are already in a pretty big struggle to pay their tuition along with the rent costs and everything that goes along with paying for university," said Christina Sitkowski. a computer science student studying interactive systems design.

The highest increases for grad students include a 20 per cent hike for those enrolled in the Master of Professional Accounting program, and a 13.91 per cent hike for those in the U of S Master of Business Administration.

Student leaders said the increase is too high.

"That's be great if we were seeing increased services," said Jordan Sherbino, of the University of Saskatchewan Students' Union. "If we were even maintaining those services. But right now we're seeing cuts."

Officials defended the move, saying some of the tuition rates at the U of S are among the lowest in Canada, as compared to the top 15 research-intensive and doctoral-medical institutions. 

Tuition makes up almost a quarter of the university's operating budget.