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3, 2015
Media Backgrounder: International Student Tuition Increase Proposal
UBC is committed to making investments in teaching and research that will enhance the educational
experience for students and the quality of teaching and research at the university. The proposal is to
increase international student tuition for about 30 undergraduate programs by an average of 15 per
cent in 2016, 15 per cent in 2017 and 7 per cent in 2018. An increase ranging from 3 per cent to
between 44 and 50 percent is proposed annually for about 36 non-thesis-based (professional)
graduate programs from 2016 to 2018. The proposed increases are program specific, so they vary by
Our international tuition is substantially below that of our peer institutions (15 per cent to 50 per cent
below in undergraduate programs and 16 per cent to 180 per cent below in professional graduate
programs). Having lower international student tuition than that of our peer universities limits UBCs
ability to make investments to enable the university to create an exceptional learning environment
and achieve research breakthroughs.
Key Facts:
No. of international students: System-wide, UBC has roughly 12,000 international students
(8,687 undergraduate, 3,225 graduate) from 156 countries. This is about 20 per cent of our student
body of 60,390 students.
International students do not displace domestic students. The university fills all
government-funded undergraduate spaces with domestic students. Over the past 6 years,
the university has admitted more than the government funds.
The Province has increased the number of government-funded spaces by 34.6% from
31,444 in 2003/04 to 42,330 in 2015/16.
Grandfathering: The fee adjustment would only apply to students starting at UBC in May of 2016
and later. Current international undergraduate students will see their tuition rise from two per cent to
three per cent yearly, depending on when they were admitted. A new international undergraduate
student in 2016 will pay an average of 15 per cent more than current rates. Once an international
student is enrolled in a program at UBC, their tuition will increase by no more than five per cent
annually for undergrads, and three per cent annually for graduate students. This approach ensures
predictability and allows students to make a financial plan for their degree.
Total Revenue: UBC anticipates total revenue from the proposed increases across the Vancouver
and Okanagan campuses to be $10.6 million in 2016, $36.3 million in 2017, and estimates $61
million in 2018.
Past increases: UBC limited its international tuition rates to minimal increases for five years: 3 per
cent for incoming students and two per cent for continuing students. An increase of 10 per cent was
implemented in 2015 for most undergraduate programs.
Comparison with other universities: UBCs international fees are significantly below our primary
comparator institutions. Many of our comparators have raised fees substantially by 50 to 60 per
cent over the past few years, and are continuing to raise fees, which enables them to invest in
teaching and research. This significant disparity limits UBCs ability to make investments that will
strengthen the teaching, learning, and research mission and excellence of the university.
Investments of Tuition Increase
Strategic Investment Fund: For the Vancouver campus, approximately 61 per cent of the
increased tuition revenue will be allocated to a strategic investment fund that will be used to

support research, teaching and learning and the educational experience. The Vancouver
campus Provost will establish terms of references for the fund and return to the Board of
Governors with those terms for discussion in February.
International student financial aid: UBC already has the largest international
undergraduate financial support program in Canada. UBC offers international students more
than $11 million in financial support per year from non-public funds. Increased revenue will
allow UBC to enhance its international student financial support. Roughly 7.5 per cent of
international students tuition is earmarked for international student financial support. By
2016, the amount of financial support UBC will offer international students will increase to $12
million, about $15 million in 2017 and about $20 million in 2018. This funding will ensure UBC
maintains a diverse student body.
Faculties and administrative units: Approximately one-third of the new revenue will be
divided between the faculties and administrative units. Most of that portion (65 per cent) will
go to faculties to support established teaching, learning and research priorities. These
priorities differ by faculty but can include hiring new teaching and research faculty, facility
upgrades, and support for graduate students. The remainder will be allocated to UBC's vice
presidents to support existing priorities. Some examples are support for the library system,
experiential learning opportunities for students and summer work-learn opportunities for

Still competitive after the increase: Even after the proposed increases, UBCs tuition for
international students will still be lower than many comparable universities.
Student Consultation
UBC consulted with elected student leaders over the course of the summer and fall. Meetings were
scheduled through the month of October so that the elected student leaders could continue to meet
with Executives and Deans. The general student body was invited to provide feedback through a
web-based system and to attend town hall meetings in late-October and early-November. Students
feedback was compiled and submitted to the Board of Governors for review.
UBC Public Affairs
310 6251 Cecil Green Park Rd.
Vancouver B.C. Canada V6T 1Z1
UBC News Line: 604.UBC.NEWS (822.6397)


Matthew Ramsey
UBC Public Affairs
Tel. 604.827.0781
Cell: 604.518.5835