Student union leaders at Capilano University in North Vancouver are decrying a planned 12-percent hike to international-student tuition fees.
The postsecondary institution’s board of governors approved on November 16 the increase to $475 per credit from $425. The change goes into effect in fall 2011.
“In general, 12 percent is not a sustainable fee increase for students from year to year,” said David Clarkson, a student representative on the university’s board who voted against the change. “It’s well above inflation.”
“It’s going to require a full-time international student to pay $1,500 more each year, which is going to be a serious financial hardship for those students,” Clarkson told the Straight today (November 19) by phone.
“From one year to the next, that’s quite a large fee increase.”
Cindy Turner, Capilano University’s vice-president of finances and administration, said the fee increase reflects the institution’s rising costs.
Turner said the university cannot access provincial grant funding to subsidize international student fees as it does for domestic student costs. She also said Capilano University’s international student fees are low compared with other postsecondary institutions in B.C.
But she acknowledged the 12-percent increase “is about as high as anyone could stomach at one time”.
“We’re just trying to cover our costs, because we’re mandated to try and cover our full costs,” Turner told the Straight by phone.
International student liaison Gary Guo told the Straight the higher fees will make life tougher for students from other countries. He described the $50-per-credit increase as not sustainable.
Clarkson said he still questions why an increase as high as 12 percent was necessary.
The Capilano Students’ Union was expected to meet this afternoon to consider how to respond to the fee hike.
Capilano University has around 5,500 full-time equivalent students, Turner said. Roughly 600 of those are international students.