SASKATOON -- After freezing tuition for the majority of programs last year, the University of Saskatchewan plans to increase tuition rates for the 2021-22 academic year.

According to the university, the tuition change works out to a weighted average increase of 3.9 per cent— 3.8 per cent for undergraduate students, and five per cent for graduate students.

In an emailed statement, the university said the increase is "to ensure undergraduate and graduate students continue to receive an education that is one of the highest in quality and value in Canada – regardless of how programs are delivered."

Autumn LaRose-Smith, president of the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union (USSU), said she is not happy to hear about the tuition increase.

“The idea of a tuition increase is very upsetting because of the year that we’ve had. We’re one year into a pandemic. Students have not yet really been able to get their balance back after it hit us last year in March, and especially with new variants on the rise, obviously the fear of a lockdown is real again,” she told CTV News.

LaRose-Smith said she hopes the university works on making learning more accessible for students as some enjoy the flexibility of learning from home and not having to pay to live close to or commute to the university.

“I do not think that we are getting the bang for our buck in the sense that the quality of education has not matched the price of education even with the tuition freeze,” she said.

“I hope that they are improving the quality of education through online learning and I think that there’s efforts to move towards that, so I am very hopeful that is the case."

Last May, the university announced it was freezing tuition for the 2020-21 academic year for most programs except for dentistry, law and veterinary medicine.