OTTAWA, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- It's becoming more expensive to pursue higher education in Canada, official data showed Thursday.
Full-time undergraduate students in Canada paid 3.3 percent more on average in tuition fees this fall for the current academic year than they did last year, Statistics Canada said, which also reported a 4.2-percent tuition hike for the 2012-2013 academic year.
By comparison, inflation -- as measured by the Consumer Price Index -- was 1.3 percent between July 2012 and July 2013.
Statistics Canada said that on average, undergraduate students paid 5,772 Canadian dollars in tuition fees in 2013-2014 compared with 5,586 Canadian dollars for 2012-2013.
As has been the case in recent years, dentistry students paid the highest average undergrad fees, at 17,324 Canadian dollars this year, followed by students in medicine at 12,438 Canadian dollars and pharmacy at 10,942 Canadian dollars.
Canadian graduate students, however, aren't feeling as great a hit on their wallets.
This year, their average tuition fees are 6,053 Canadian dollars, a 2.3-percent increase from the previous year when fees surged by 4.5 percent.
Statistics Canada said the Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, with tuition fees of 35,889 Canadian dollars, and the regular MBA program, 24,168 Canadian dollars, remained the most expensive graduate-level programs.
The agency also said that this year, international undergrad student tuition fees rose by 6.8 percent to 19,514 Canadian dollars compared with a 5.5-percent increase in 2012-2013.
Rising tuition is making the student-debt crisis "worse" than it was, said Jessica McCormick, national chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students, an umbrella organization that represents more than 80 university and college students' associations with a combined membership of more than 500,000 students across the country.
"Canadians expect that access to higher education should be determined by how hard you study, not by how much money you have," McCormick said in a press release. (1 U.S. dollar = 1.0327 Canadian dollars)