Frequently Asked Questions

Has BC ever frozen or reduced tuition fees in the past? What did that look like?

From 1996-2001 British Columbia tuition fees and ancillary fees (mandatory additional fees) were frozen, but the freeze did not apply to international student fees. By freezing tuition fees, British Columbia undergraduate tuition fees remained below the average Canadian tuition fees, which continued to rise during this period. However, in 2002, this freeze was lifted and tuition fees skyrocketed until the tuition fee limit policy was introduced in 2005, capping the annual increase at 2%.

How much has government funding gone down in recent years?

the proportion of public funding to BC colleges and universities has dropped to 43.6% of total operating revenue, down from more than 80% in the 1980s and more than 90% in the 1970s; the proportion of tuition fee revenues now makes up 47.6% of institutions’ revenue, and has now surpassed the proportion of government funding

How much have tuition fees increased in recent years? How does this compare to inflation?

From 1990 to 2019, tuition fees across the country have increased on average by more than 336%.  In BC, average tuition fees for an undergraduate education in 1990 were $1,808 compared with $5,924 in 2019, an increase of 228%

Have these funding cuts affected enrollment?

Yes, between 2007/08 and 2011/12, enrolment grew by 13% in BC. However, between the 2011/12 and 2013/14, enrolment growth dropped to less than 2%, and in fact declined between the 2012/13 and 2016/17 years. During these years, BC experienced a 4.3% increase in the number of youth aged 18 to 24, suggesting that enrolment should have increased, rather than decreased

What is the current tuition fee limit policy?

The current tuition fee limit policy states that the limit for domestic tuition and mandatory fees is 2%

What are the issues with the current tuition fee limit policy?

While the tuition fee cap applies to tuition fees and mandatory fees, it does not apply to international student tuition fees, new programs in their first year (or substantially revised programs), continuing education non-credited courses (e.g. first aid, photography), or mandatory student association fees. Particularly, the ministry clarified how institutions could go about showing that an old program is sufficiently changed, in order to be exempt from the tuition fee cap for it’s first year. This clarification allowed institutions to find a way to increase tuition fees beyond the 2 percent cap and continued to let international student fees go unregulated.