Tuition and Living Accommodation Costs (TLAC)

Detailed information for 2011/2012





Record number:


The purpose of the survey is to collect tuition fees and living accommodation costs concerning all universities and degree-granting colleges across the country.

Data release - September 16, 2011


The Tuition and Living Accommodation Costs (TLAC) survey collects data for full-time students at Canadian degree-granting institutions that are publicly funded. The survey was developed to provide an overview of tuition and additional compulsory fees, and living accommodation costs that students can expect to pay for an academic year.

This information:
- gives stakeholders, the public and students an annual guide to tuition costs as well as providing information on trends in tuition fees;
- contribute to a better understanding of the student financial position for that level of education;
- helps in the development of policies in this sector;
- is used to calculate the Consumer Price Index;
- facilitates interprovincial comparisons;
- facilitates comparisons across institutions.

Each year data are collected for the previous and current academic year. The previous academic year data become revised and final while the current academic year data are preliminary and will be revised and become final in the next collection cycle.

Reference period: Academic year.

Collection period: Between April and July before the reference period.


  • Education finance
  • Education, training and learning
  • Students

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population is all public degree-granting institutions (universities and colleges) in Canada.

Instrument design

The questionnaire for this survey has remained stable over the years, although the format and wording has been modified to maintain its relevance based on feedback from survey respondents and data users.

However, for the collection cycle 2008-09, there was a redesign of the questionnaire. The new fields of study presented for both graduate and undergraduate programs are adapted from the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) as they are now Statistics Canada's standard for field of study classification. The CIP's structure comprises several groupings developed jointly by Statistics Canada and the National Center for Education Statistics. It is based on work undertaken as part of the creation of the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS) by Canada, the United States and Mexico. These groupings are:

- Education
- Visual and Performing Arts, and Communications Technologies
- Humanities
- Social and Behavioural Sciences
- Law, legal professions and studies
- Business, Management and Public Administration
- Physical and Life Sciences and Technologies
- Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences
- Engineering
- Architecture and Related Technologies
- Agriculture, Natural Resources and Conservation
- Dentistry
- Medicine
- Nursing
- Pharmacy
- Veterinary medicine
- Other Health, Parks, Recreation and Fitness
- Personal, Protective and Transportation Services
- Other
For graduate program only
- Executive MBA
- Regular MBA

Each year we collect data for the previous and current academic year. The previous academic year data becomes revised and final while the current academic year data are preliminary and will be revised and become final in the next collection cycle.


This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design.

Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore, no sampling is done.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2011-04-04 to 2011-06-17

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

As of 2011-2012, all universities and degree-granting colleges report their fees using an electronic questionnaire using the Electronic Transfer File service (ETF). Formerly, a paper questionnaire was used for data collection.

Operations and Integration Division (OID) at Statistics Canada conducts telephone follow-up.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

A Statistical Analysis System (SAS) program is run on the completed file, comparing each institution to the previous year's results. Any significant changes are investigated with the respondents.


This methodology does not apply.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

Each year a data comparison is done (percentage increases for major cells) for each university and college. Any major discrepancies are investigated with the respondent, resulting in changes, if any.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

A presentation letter is prepared including authorization to release data publicly at the institution level.

Data are released publicly at the institutional level.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

All surveys are subject to errors. Only non-sampling errors apply to this survey given that there was no sampling process used to produce the final results. While considerable effort is made to ensure that universities and colleges are preparing information in accordance with the General Instructions to ensure comparability of the information at the aggregate level and ensure consistency and comparability over time in institutional reporting, major differences in operations and/or policies and/or differences in institutional interpretation/implementation of the General Instructions affect the comparability of the information over time and with other institutions.


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