Tuition hikes, other costs associated with attending post-secondary institutions, and general conversations around money are all a big part of Stacy Dutka's job.

The career development counsellor at Estevan Comprehensive School helps guide the future of high school students in Estevan, particularly those who are in Grade 12.

"We always try to show them the tuition. And to remember, tuition is just one expense. If you're going to live in residence that's another, or your books are another, or your parking pass is another expense. So we kind of just try to highlight those," said Dutka, adding that many of these conversations often take place at home with families.

Recently the University of Regina announced its tuition would be going up by four per cent beginning this fall. The school said this was due to financial challenges stemming from the pandemic.

For ECS graduating students, Dutka said it's a pretty even split between attending the University of Regina or the University of Saskatchewan, though there is a growing trend for students to go out of province.

She said the U of R tuition hikes likely won't have a direct impact on ECS students.

"The students don't really seem to notice that impact in their planning, they don't really bring it up and they don't really talk about it. I think maybe those are conversations that are happening more at home," Dutka said. "The U of R this year is four per cent...U of S last year was 3.7 (per cent). So we are definitely seeing those increases because of the funding that the schools are not receiving."

Still, Dutka said there are things students can do to help mitigate the high cost of tuition.

"Making sure your application is in by a certain date, because both of those schools have guaranteed scholarships which they don't have to apply for...they're just automatically considered based on their admission average," Dutka said. "For the Univeristy of Regina and Saskatchewan, the top one is three thousand dollars, so it is a significant award depending on academic averages, so we always encourage them to get it in by the date that qualifies them to be considered for those awards."

Dutka added that buying used textbooks instead of new ones is another way to cut down on costs.