Q: Why has Saskatchewan adopted new legislation enabling institutions other than the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan to grant degrees?

A: As the demand for post-secondary education in Saskatchewan continues to grow, institutions within the province and from other jurisdictions have expressed interest in offering new degree programs that will increase the number of post-secondary options for Saskatchewan students.  The new legislation establishes the Saskatchewan Higher Education Quality Assurance Board (SHEQAB) to oversee a comprehensive quality assurance process. The Board will ensure that only degree programs that meet quality standards consistent with those in other Canadian and international jurisdictions are authorized in Saskatchewan.

Q: Did the Government of Saskatchewan consult with the public, post-secondary institutions and other stakeholders about the new legislation?

A: Yes.  In the spring of 2011, public consultations regarding the possibility of expanding degree-granting rights in Saskatchewan were held.  See the Ministry of Advanced Education website for details.  Subsequently, post-secondary institutions, other provinces, and other stakeholders were consulted at keys points throughout the process of developing the legislation.

Q: Why is quality assurance in higher education important to Saskatchewan?

A: Requiring applicants for authorization to grant degrees to go through a comprehensive quality assessment of their institution and program(s) protects students by ensuring that all degree programs that are offered in Saskatchewan meet accepted quality standards, and that the credential awarded upon completion of the program will be recognized by other academic institutions and employers.

Q: What is the SHEQAB?

A: The Saskatchewan Higher Education Quality Assurance Board (SHEQAB) is an independent board that is established under The Degree Authorization Act to establish standards and oversee the quality assurance process, and to make recommendations to the Minister regarding the authorization of new degree programs and use of the terms “university” and “varsity”.

Q: Who sits on the SHEQAB?

A: Members of the SHEQAB are appointed by the Minister of Advanced Education, and are selected according to criteria outlined in a competency matrix.  Click here for a list of current SHEQAB members.

Q: Who can apply for authorization to grant degrees in Saskatchewan?

A: Any public or private educational institution from Saskatchewan or any other jurisdiction may apply for authorization to grant degrees in Saskatchewan.  Applicants must meet rigorous institutional and program quality standards before they will be authorized, and they must pay all the required application and review fees associated with the quality assurance process.

Q: How much does it cost to become authorized to grant degrees in Saskatchewan?

A: The initial application fee is $5,000.00, and is payable with an institution’s application.  Fees for the review process range from $20,000.00 to $45,000.00, depending on the level of review required as determined by the SHEQAB.

Q: How were the fees determined?

A: The Saskatchewan Government stipulated that the quality assurance process should be cost-neutral to tax payers.  The fees are designed to recover all costs associated with the process. 

Q: How is the level of review determined?

A: The SHEQAB determines the level of review required for any given application based on a number of criteria including the applicant’s history as a degree-granting institution, its status as an established institution in its home jurisdiction, and its previous experience undergoing quality assurance processes similar to that in Saskatchewan.

Q: What kinds of degrees can be authorized?

A: The legislation does not limit the kinds of degree programs that can be authorized.  However, standards for graduate-level degrees are still under development.  Applications for authorization to grant graduate degrees will not be processed until the standards are finalized.

Q: Where do I find a list of degree programs that have been authorized?

A:  A list of degree programs that have been authorized by the province can be found here.

Q.  How can I tell if a degree program has been authorized?

A.  Institutions whose programs are authorized will be able to use the SHEQAB Seal of Approval.

Q: Why are the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina exempt from the legislation?

A: The University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina are authorized by their respective Acts to grant degrees in Saskatchewan.  Both institutions have a long history of offering high quality programming, and both have rigorous internal quality assurance processes to ensure that their traditional levels of quality are maintained.

Q: If an institution is authorized to grant a degree, does that mean that it is a university?

A: No, offering degree programs does not make an institution a university.  Institutions wishing to call themselves a university or to use the words “university” or “varsity” or any derivation or abbreviation of these terms in their name or in any advertising or promotional material for their institution or its programs must meet strict criteria and receive approval from Cabinet in order to do so.  The SHEQAB accepts applications from institutions wishing to use these terms as described.

Q: Are there any institutions that are not universities that use the term “university” in their names?

A: Yes.  Prior to the proclamation of The Degree Authorization Act, the First Nations University of Canada and the University of Emmanuel College had permission to use the term “university” in their names.  They are exempt from the requirements of the Act in this regard.

Q: Are there any degree programs in Saskatchewan offered by institutions other than  the University of Regina or the University of Saskatchewan that have not been authorized under the terms of The Degree Authorization Act?

A: Yes.  Some institutions in Saskatchewan were offering degree programs prior to the proclamation of The Degree Authorization Act.  These institutions and programs have been temporarily exempted from the requirements of the Act (“grandfathered”), and have until June 30, 2020 to come into compliance.  Click here for a list of these institutions and programs.

Q: Do theological degrees have to undergo the quality assurance review process?

A: There are a number of theological colleges in Saskatchewan that offer theological degrees.  These programs are not required to be authorized under The Degree Authorization Act, and can be identified by the name of the degree awarded.  Click here for a list of accepted nomenclature for theological degrees in the province.

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