McMaster and Mohawk tuition won't be lowered despite virtual courses next school year

Tuition fees won't change but any fees for shuttered services during the pandemic will drop.

Schools say the degree and education won't change, so neither will the fee

University and college students in Hamilton will pay the same tuition fees but may see a drop in other service fees. (Shutterstock)

McMaster University and Mohawk College say tuition fees will not decrease despite moving classes online amid COVID-19 restrictions.

"The key thing here is there's a difference between the fees and tuition," Bill Steinburg, Mohawk College's press secretary, told CBC News.

"Tuition is tied to the delivery of the program and helping students achieve their degrees and diplomas ... you're not actually getting less, the credential is not devalued at all."

A statement by McMaster on its website offered a similar response.

"Designing virtual classrooms and online opportunities for students needs instructors, technology and experts to deliver the high-quality experience our students expect and deserve. Plus there is still all of the marking, academic advising, office hours and support that we want to provide," reads the explanation.

"The same number of instructors who have been engaged in the teaching mission of the university will be working this fall, alongside sessionals, teaching assistants and others — all of whom help us provide excellent teaching at McMaster. In addition, the university is investing considerably to bring in more people specifically skilled in digital learning to help instructors develop courses, learn the best technology and help students understand and take full advantage of our learning systems."

But both schools will adjust fees for services that aren't running due to COVID-19. For example, if a school charges an athletics fee to use gym facilities, but gyms can't operate during the pandemic, students likely wouldn't have to pay that fee.

Ontario's plans to reopen higher education

On Wednesday, the Ford government said students who weren't able to graduate because of the pandemic-era restrictions can, in July, start "limited in-person education and training" if their school chooses to participate in the voluntary reopening.

That would include students in programs like policing and the trades. Mohawk College recently posted a list of what students can return to finish their course.

Schools can also begin teaching students pursuing "essential, frontline, and high labour market demand areas, such as nursing, personal support workers, engineering, and other critical professions."


Bobby Hristova


Bobby Hristova is a reporter/editor with CBC Hamilton. Email: bobby.hristova@cbc.ca


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