Approved last week by the board of governors, the budget 2019/20 announces tuition fee increases for both domestic and international students, with continuing students affected to a lesser extent.
On average, new international undergraduate students will see the cost of their courses increase by 12% from September 2019, the university’s announcement explained.
“If you’re an international student, it’s just impossible”
But the increase will vary course by course. Computer Science, Engineering Science and Mechatronics courses will have their fees raised by 16% for international applicants, while business courses will reach a 20% increase.
For existing international undergraduate students, tuition fees will increase by 4%, compare to 2% for domestic students.
Graduate students will see an increase of 2-4%.
The university explained that a portion of tuition fees will be used to improve student services, including scholarships, bursaries, student advising, as well as mental health and other support services.
Students have protesting against the move ever since it was announced, CBC reported, pushing for a two-year tuition fee freeze instead.
One of the co-organisers of the SFU Tuition Freeze Now campaign, an international student named Jorij Temple, told local media that rising fees imposed hardship on students.
“If you want to work a minimum wage job to pay your tuition fees, you have to work 50% more hours than you did in the ’90s or the 2000s as a domestic student,” Temple commented.
“If you’re an international student, it’s just impossible; you’d have to work a 60-hour week to pay your tuition. That’s not counting food, that’s not counting rent.”
His solution would be to push the federal government for increased university funding.
“We know the board and the SFU administration didn’t create the provincial funding gap in universities and we know that they didn’t create the affordability crisis,” Temple said.
The institution added in its announcement that even with the tuition fee increase, there will be a shortfall of C$3.1m, which will be covered by other means, such as reviewing administrative expenses and finding efficiencies.
“SFU, and other universities, are facing financial pressures that include being competitive in faculty recruitment and retention (particularly in high demand sectors), inflation, and increasing capital costs to maintain and upgrade campuses,” it explained.