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BREAKING: UBC to Increase International Tuition by 10% and Residence Fees by 20%

Sources with connections to the UBC Board of Governors and the Alma Matter Society have revealed to The Talon that tuition for incoming international students will be raised by 10%, and residence fees on 8-month contracts will be similarly raised by approximately 20% effective next Fall. The university will be making the announcement over the next few days.

This is the latest in a series of neoliberal reforms aimed at increasing profits for the University at the expense of financially struggling or prospective international students.

A 30-day consultation process will begin shortly. More info will be added as it comes in.

If you are angered by this announcement, come to the Social Justice Centre meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5 PM in SUB 245 to discuss possible actions to take.

Click here to see the full pdf of slides shown to the AMS about the price increases: Tuition and Residence Fee Increase Presentation Oct 7

Below are some excerpts.


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Rationale for the increases – “improve UBC’s academic excellence and student experience”

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These slides about the residence fee increases come from the same presentation, UBC wants student housing to be more comparable to market rates

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  • Joan Tan

    I work with the UBC International Students Association, and I would just like to note that the ISA is working closely with the AMS regarding these new proposed changes to ensure that student voice is heard, and that their concerns are addressed during the consultation process.

    We encourage students to provide their feedback and input, as it is important to represent as many perspectives and opinions as we can, and hopefully be able to form a unified message.

  • cachalo

    I would have never afforded to go to UBC if I were starting next year. I am middle class, and I feel as if they will just be wiping out us out with the constant increase in fees. Thank God I graduated already! 🙂 UBC should consider which populations they will be excluding with their constant yearly increases. Will there be more scholarships?

    • Blake Frederick


      • cachalo

        Great, so they will just be getting very wealthy international students then. And since UBC is comparatively easier than getting into Harvard, Oxford etc, they will be getting wealthy international students that aren’t necessarily the most intelligent. Because if your intelligent and wealthy, you go to Harvard. I was intelligent, but not wealthy, so I came to UBC 6 years ago.

      • Luc

        In the slide right above they say “Increased international tuition revenue will be invested in the academic excellence of UBC….. A renewed emphasis on access – increased financial aid”

        so yea there will be more if they follow through

  • Margareta Daisy Dovgal

    I don’t see the problem. It isn’t UBC’s responsibility as a Canadian educational institution to make its services accessible to international students. Functionally, UBC responds to the market demand. Considering that there are many students who can afford that kind of increase (particularly since with the increase we’d still be on par with other Canadian universities), UBC is well within it’s rights to adjust the kind of market it aims to attract.

    As well, by increasing fees, this creates a greater surplus of funds from which the university can fund local students that UBC, I would argue, has a greater responsibility to support.

    • cachalo

      Sure, but it needs to stop portraying itself as a “global” institution that wants to encourage diversity. The message UBC sends out of being “global” is not on par with their tuition increase. They will be excluding a wealth of international students, which arguably make UBC much more interesting both on paper and in reality. Also UBC, is one of the most expensive universities at an undergraduate level for international students. I believe that the only other one that is more expensive is UofT, so no, it won’t be on par with other Canadian Universities.

    • Jesse

      Gee, so I guess as the AMS Equity Commissioner you must feel like you’re not responsible for making your services accessible to international students.

      I guess instead of “Identify[ing] and ultimately eliminat[ing] any systemic barriers to equity that exist in our university policies and practices” you’re actually upholding and reinforcing them.

      Oh, and I guess I missed that “ensuring that everyone has equitable access to study and work opportunities” actually only means domestic students.

      Pretty equitable.

      • Margareta Daisy Dovgal

        I was in a rush typing on my phone and things didn’t come out as clearly as they might have otherwise. However, I stand behind what I meant, though I must add that these are personal opinions and not indicative of the AMS’ position. (As well to clarify, I’m commenting on the international student tuition raise, not on residence fees.)

        I remain unconvinced that raising tuition, not for current international students, but for prospective students is a “systemic barrier to equity”. If a prospective international student is seriously hindered by a 10% increase, maybe they cannot afford to go here after all. That’s an unavoidable reality and I don’t think attending UBC is owed to anyone.

        Framing reasonable tuition increases for the purpose of attracting a different market as hindering “equitable access to study” is quite frankly insulting to those whose pursuit of education has greater barriers to overcome than a minor increase in fees. A “systemic barrier to equity” in education due to financial status or class is having to realize that no amount of accessible financial aid is going to make postsecondary school possibility for you, not having to potentially settle for another great top 50 institution. That’s the real tragedy, when an education is wholly denied to someone.

        Students choose to go here. It’s a constant cost-benefit analysis, or it should be for any student worth their salt. If a student was already willing to shell out $20k+ a year on their education, there are a million schools that will take them happily and they should seriously consider, instead of putting themselves into serious financial strain to attend. That’s simply common sense.

        • Ivan Leonce

          I think the point is still being missed here :/

          We can’t just opt in and out of systems.. yes we have a “choice” (if you want to call it that) to ‘desire’ to attend or not attend this university.. but that choice is complex.

          We don’t live in an equitable world. Your analysis is completely erasing the reality of classism.. My access to jobs, housing, who I know, what I know and how my family will have access to jobs, housing, who they know and what they know are INEXTRICABLY tied to what institution of higher learning I attend.

          Also, you’re being racist, there I said it – Hella racist! Your entire argument is grounded in the opinion that Canada should be providing for Canada. That the “Great white North” should be protecting its wealth, its people, its future and show no interest in the future of others.

          I am WHOLLY convinced that UBC owes it to every student, *especially* not excepting international students to provide them with a financially accessible education, but that might just be me remembering that Canada was founded by the great grandsons of the globally genocidal British and French who made it their business to actively remove the possibility of any non-western country to ever be self sufficient, ever provide for themselves, ever exist in a way that I don’t have to pay thousands of dollars in a currency not of my own to learn the same racist doctrines that put me here in the first place – just so I can survive in this system that they set up.

          And this might just be .. your opinion.. but how am I to trust that my Equity Commissioner will promote my access to education as an international student when they hold opinions like that.

          • Margareta Daisy Dovgal

            There are two issues at play here: 1) we disagree on UBC’s (and Canada’s) global responsibility, and 2) we disagree on UBC’s (and Canada’s) rights/responsibilities in a market economy. You’ve also basically accused me of being classist, racist, and a proponent of colonialism because my approach to fixing these problems is different than yours. I have deep personal stakes in combating these issues, just as you have admitted you do. Our personal experiences and burdens we all bear shape our principles and outlooks on what is feasible when it comes to dealing with oppression. I respect that you prioritize global responsibility, and appear to oppose statehood, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree or that me disagreeing instantly invalidates all my opinions on injustice.

            That said, classism is a global issue interconnected with colonial legacies. At no point did I deny that. However, a fee increase is a reasonable tool for an institution operating in a market economy to utilize in its pursuit of the goals it sets. You’re very right in pointing out the seriously disadvantageous legacies of colonialism that force victims of it into the very same system so that they have chances to succeed. And despite that being one of the many many global contexts of the fee increase, I don’t buy the huge logical leap you are making by saying that it somehow represents all injustices against oppressed peoples.

            Re: your point on me being hella racist: There is a very big difference between saying that Canada should be completely exclusive and only for “Canadians” or for the “Great White North”, and saying that Canadian publicly funded institutions have responsibilities to the country they originate in first and foremost. We are all global, to an extent. Canada has global responsibilities and ties with other countries. But regardless of your feelings about the state, I refuse to accept that local and regional mindedness is ‘wrong’. There is nothing wrong with realizing that your efforts have limits and opting to concentrate on places where immediate change can occur quicker.

            As well, I believe that all business, schools, etc. have immediate responsibilities to the communities and systems that support them and make their existence possible. In the grander scheme of things, yes, UBC does have responsibilities towards the entire world, particularly its youth. Citizenship and nationality is an arbitrary line, but it is a reasonable one. Operating in the framework of a nation makes UBC greater responsible for that structure.

          • Ivan Leonce

            “…that doesn’t mean I have to agree or that me disagreeing instantly invalidates all my opinions on injustice.”

            Fair, very fair.

            I do think though that we may be disagreeing on a more fundamental level, and not necessarily specifically on global responsibility and border imperialism.

            “As well, I believe that all business, schools, etc. have immediate responsibilities to the communities and systems that support them and make their existence possible.”

            I believe this is where your opinions and mine find no compromise.

            You can swap out what ever entity – business, school, government, individual, etc. It doesn’t matter.

            Prioritizing responsibility, care and concern toward those who support and enable you (and more often than not.. are those that are similar to you) is the keystone of oppression.

            Please correct me if I’m misinterpreting here, but it appears that by your logic, that an all-male supported organization has immediate and foremost responsibility to men if requested, an all-white supported organization has immediate and foremost responsibility to white folks if requested, an all Canadian-supported organization has immediate and foremost responsibility to Canadians if requested…

            I can only reiterate that the logic of having a responsibility to those to which you belong and are supported over the responsibility (in this specific case, yes Canada and Canadians) is an act of violent erasure on the reality of how oppression manifests itself to make those who are affected *unable* to support themselves.

            Can I clarify, then is it that I’m misinterpreting what you’re saying? Or that when you say “Citizenship and nationality is an arbitrary line, but it is a reasonable one.” that you mean don’t quite consider Canadian/US/UK etc. nationality as a privilege that operates at the expense of those without it?

            PS: “Citizenship and nationality is an arbitrary line, but it is a reasonable one” is without a doubt one of the most classist, racist and colonialist things I have ever read here at UBC.

          • Margareta Daisy Dovgal

            My take on Canada’s role as a state is that it exists to represent local interests. People have the right to self-determine. I do recognize that it is a “privilege… operating at the expense of those without it”, but it is also a form of governance, likely the only currently possible one. Say what you will about its effect on human dignity, statehood is an effective mechanism of dealing with local issues and until there is a viable alternative, I will respect the limitations of that mechanism. In our current world, there is no feasible alternative to statehood or government that guarantees legal rights. Citizenship is necessary for participation in society.

            That’s a problem, I don’t disagree. We need to change how we examine personhood in the legal sense. It is currently discriminatory towards those who for political reasons are considered non-entities and live undocumented lives. It denies the reality of hybrid identities and dual identities. It reduces humanity to numbers. That’s a problem. We definitely need to find a way to guarantee human rights to all, regardless of locale.

            Don’t assume that my desire to optimize the current system and work in a national context means that I do not see the problem of statehood. But it’s the context we are working within right now, today. Pretending that Canada isn’t an entity and that UBC is completely separate from that is being completely blind to feasibility.

            Also, to address your point about all-white, all-male organizations: no. Citizenship is a necessary function for local and global politics. It can be racist, it can be gendered (and it was until recently), it can be exclusive, and those are all wrong. But it is a logical leap to compare geographically focused self-rule with the patriarchy or whiteness, as institutions. They have hierarchical similarities, but they are not the same.

          • Jesse

            “have immediate responsibilities to the communities and systems that support them and make their existence possible.”

            UBC is LITERALLY justifying this increase as a ‘need’ for their existence. International students make this university’s existence possible.
            Or at least their profit margins.

            “You’ve also basically accused me of being classist, racist, and a proponent of colonialism because my approach to fixing these problems is different than yours.”

            No, folks are calling you out on being classist, racist and a proponent of colonialism because your approach to fixing these problems IS classist, racist and colonialist.

            There’s so much going on here. I think our understandings of what the university is are fundamentally different. Like “pursuit of the goals it sets” – you realize this is $$$, right? so you’ve basically said that “However, [charging more money] is a reasonable tool for [getting more money].”

          • Margareta Daisy Dovgal

            Education and running a major institution isn’t free. It costs money to make it happen. We need to make money to provide services. That’s the reasoning.

    • Ivan Leonce

      Margareta Daisy Dovgal … Aren’t you our Equity Commissioner?

      “Considering that there are many students who can afford that kind of increase (particularly since with the increase we’d still be on par with other Canadian universities), UBC is well within it’s rights to adjust the kind of market it aims to attract.”


      Even if it’s true that many students can afford this.. since when is it okay to cater to the needs of the many at the expense of the minority?

      Also, you’re touting a border-imperialist-colonial-state worth of privilege with that international student argument…
      I’m not even going to get into the argument around UBC’s global responsibility, but what of the indigenous students over in the US who are considered international students by Canadian law when their nation was divided by the US-Candian border? What is UBC’s responsibility to them?

      • Margareta Daisy Dovgal

        You make a really good point about what is owed to indigenous students. There are a million and one different avenues that can be discussed there, but overall I agree with what you are implying; UBC, on account of being on stolen territory and benefiting from Canada, a country founded through injustices against indigenous peoples, owes these students opportunities for education. The university should really be on that, and if it isn’t already (I’ll look into it), I’ll be doing for research on why it hasn’t been done already.

        To directly answer your question, even though it may have been rhetorical: who is being affected here? It’s not current students who may indeed be facing financial difficulties. It’s not students who would be denied an education entirely if UBC proved unaffordable. Then where is this minority who is so taxed by the tuition hike?

        If they are students who would already be in a position to spend ~$100k on their undergraduate degree, is them being unable to spend another 10% and being “forced” to attend another institution a serious injustice? Privilege (you brought it up) is entitlement. We are all entitled to an education, that I support wholeheartedly. But why would anyone feel entitled to attend a school for less money than others wishing to attend the same school would pay?

        • Ivan Leonce

          My response to this is just about the same as my response to your comment on Jesse’s below.

          The only thing I would add is ” But why would anyone feel entitled to attend a school for less money than others wishing to attend the same school would pay?”

          I don’t know – You tell me, you’re the one paying a mere FRACTION of what I and other international students are paying…Why do you feel entitled?

  • Blake Frederick

    A complete disgrace. UBC always talks about making housing affordable, yet they never define affordability. It looks like they’ve defined it now – affordable student housing is the highest cost that the market can bear. Email the Director of Student Housing Andrew Parr at and let him know that his decisions have real consequences.

  • Amy

    Germany doesn’t have tuition and its universities are top-notch. I wanna know their secret!

    • Mackenzie

      Actually funding their universities properly, maybe? The issue here is that the Provincial government refuses to give UBC the money it needs to continue to be the world class university it is, meaning UBC is forced to use international tuition fees to subsidize Canadian students.