The Board of Governors voted to raise tuition fees two percent for returning domestic and international students and four percent for new international students at its meeting yesterday.

After much discussion, Board members voted in favor of the increases by a 14 to 4 vote. Student representatives Max Holmes, Georgia Yee and Shola Fashanu voted against the motion, as did faculty representative Mark Mac Lean.

UBC Provost and VP Academic Andrew Szeri justified the increases by citing the need for funding for UBC to maintain its current operations. According to Szeri, the increase will inject about $18 million into the university’s budget for the 2022/23 academic year.

“We aim to retain the ability to mount excellent teaching and research programs across all degree programs,” he said.

UBC President Santa Ono added that tuition fees for international students at UBC are lower than other competitive universities such as McGill University and the University of Toronto, and the vice- UBC’s finance and operations president, Peter Smailes, later said the raise was critical to the feasibility of the Budget 2022/23for which the Board voted unanimously at the same meeting.

Mac Lean voiced his opposition to the increase. He said he was concerned about the social cost to students and urged improvements in how the board’s rationale is communicated to students, 90 per cent of whom expressed opposition to the increase in a recent poll.

“There have been huge financial impacts on students here at the university and their families,” Mac Lean said. “I do a bit of social math…how do we communicate to our students what we’ve heard from them? »

Holmes argued that continuously increasing tuition fees is not a sustainable method of raising long-term funds and expressed the wish that the university would push for more government grants in the middle of the Review of funding recently launched by the Government of British Columbia.

“As a source of revenue, we can’t continually raise tuition, especially if we’re trying to keep up with inflation, because we’re going to have to outpace inflation,” Holmes said. “I think it will be important to have that conversation next year and to respect the arguments that have been put forward by the administration.”

Affordability plan approved

Board members also voted unanimously in favor of implementing UBC’s New Student Affordability Strategy.

The plan – which has been under development for nearly a year by a specialist task force – makes 10 recommendations on how the university can better address student affordability issues, including revising the process of consulting on tuition fees, addressing the cost of living and fundraising for needs. aid programs.

Students have been calling for this plan for years. Holmes and Yee voted against last year’s budget because the university did not yet have a comprehensive affordability plan.

Student Vice President Ainsley Carry introduced the plan, outlining some of the recommendations and the categories they fall into.

“We hear a lot about pressures from students around food insecurity, housing insecurity, textbook costs, and childcare and transportation issues,” Carry said. “These issues put enormous pressure on students who are also trying to study and have a better quality of life on campus.”

Szeri also outlined some of the recommendations, including improving online financial planning tools and exploring the development of a multi-year tuition framework that would see tuition increases limited to a few years rather than every year.

Yee questioned the long-term vision of the plan, specifically what it would look like beyond five years after its implementation. Carry responded that within that time, the task force hopes its recommendations will be fully integrated into the student support process.

UBC Chancellor Steven Point expressed concern that the plan does not explicitly consider affordability for Indigenous students. Carry responded that while he agrees with Point, the task force did not consider specific impacts on affordability for demographic groups due to its limited timeline. He added that such impacts will be considered long-term.