Finance and financial implications

Frequently asked questions about 2020-21

Why is UNB raising tuition by two per cent?

The two per cent tuition increase is tied to a multi-year agreement with the Province of New Brunswick. A key principle of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is the predictability of tuition increases for students and the Unrestricted Operating Grant from the province. We are in the final year of the four-year agreement.

The university is facing increased costs, in part because we need additional infrastructure to provide alternative delivery method learning platforms to accommodate various courses and labs. Choosing not to increase tuition by the planned two per cent at this time could jeopardize our ability to deliver quality education for all students now and in the future.

There are additional costs associated with adapting courses and working with blended learning advisors to ensure effective learning.

We understand that blended learning models change the students’ experiences at university; however, our faculty and staff are committed to providing the same high standard of programming.

Is UNB still charging mandatory fees in 2020?

Yes. We recognize that global pandemic has presented many challenges and students have faced financial hardships because of COVID-19. UNB is refunding 20 per cent of the total mandatory fees paid by students registered in programs on the Fredericton and Saint John campuses. Tuition, which covers the cost of the courses you take at UNB will remain the same. The mandatory fees that are used for specific services not included in tuition costs, will be reduced by 20 per cent.

The refund will be deposited to your UNB student account and applied to any outstanding balance that may be owing on your UNB student account. If your student account has a credit balance, you may leave the refund on your student account to use towards a future term or request a refund by emailing

UNB is working through this pandemic to ensure we are offering flexible choices for our students to accommodate all situations. Students will continue to have access to a wide range of resources and services such as academic advisors and academic help centres, financial aid, health centres and counselling. UNB student support services are in place and continue to be delivered at full capacity with in-person and virtual options.

Why isn’t UNB doing in-person instruction?

Although the return to our campuses for in-person course instruction is limited and the university experience is going to be different than what we all expected, UNB remains committed to providing a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff.

We are following New Brunswick Public Health safety guidelines and requirements, which are necessary for managing public health risks and for ensuring the health and safety of the UNB community.

Through the transition phases of reopening our campuses, our guiding principles have been the health and safety of our community, as well as providing an accessible and flexible learning environment for students with the highest quality of education possible. We will maintain this approach throughout the academic year. 

With students taking virtual classes, should tuition be lowered?

Tuition will not be lowered because the cost to run UNB programs has not lowered. Our instructional and research personnel expenses are fixed, and infrastructure is still required to develop course content and provide professional development opportunities for faculty members on the various educational platforms. Faculty members are developing multiple ways for students to access course content, including live/recorded mini-lectures, readings, guided discussion, flipped classrooms, research quests using the library or other web resources, and other modes of delivery.    

Courses offered through alternative delivery methods will allow instructors the option to break tutorial sessions and classes into smaller groups which provides opportunities for more interaction. 

Why offer alternative delivery method courses if they are inferior?

Alternative delivery method courses are not inferior. Different approaches for delivering educational material and student engagement does not mean substandard. Well-designed virtual courses are just as effective as in-person instruction and a very engaging experience for students.

Peer interaction is also part of the experience, through various group projects, group discussions and experiential learning opportunities.

Advantages of alternative delivery method courses include:

  • Virtual settings open the door for participation for many who were not comfortable to put themselves forward in-person.
  • With smart design, alternative delivery methods offer multiple ways for the students to approach the content and supports different learning styles.
  • With many of the virtual lectures pre-recorded, there are opportunities to review and pace to meet different student preferences.
  • Alternative delivery methods encourage changing from an observer/receiver model to a participant model, which is much more powerful and effective for learning.
  • In many cases, the use of virtual assignments, quizzes, and tests allow faster turnaround for marking, giving the students timely formative feedback which will help guide their learning.
  • Faculty members are being encouraged to pro-actively build connections with students, which may in-fact enhance the traditional face-to-face student experience.
  • Many students are more comfortable with virtual social interaction and the current virtual environment plays to that strength.
  • Many students will be working in remote working environments or working remotely with team-mates or clients in the future. The current virtual experience is an excellent preparation for the 21st century workplace.

Given the financial constraints UNB is facing, how will UNB offset the raising costs?

We are currently reviewing all options and avenues to reduce costs and mitigate the anticipated financial losses in the 2020-21 fiscal year.