Starting next fall, tuition fees for international graduate students will rise to two-and-a-half times that paid by domestic graduate students at UBC.
The Board of Governors voted in favour of the increase at its meeting Feb. 6 despite a Senate motion to have the increase rescinded. The Senate had passed its motion with a vote of 30-25.
"The board decided that it would be in the best interests of all faculties and their students to carry on with the proposed fee changes to help offset provincial grant reductions," said Vice-President, Academic Daniel Birch. He added that government grants are expected to be cut by $1.6 million next year.
The new tuition fees will be applied to international graduate students admitted on or after Sept. 1 of this year. Tuition will rise to $7,087, of which $1,603 is earmarked for student aid. Birch said that most, if not all, faculties will commit an additional $1,603, ensuring that at least two-thirds of the increase goes to financial aid for international graduate students.
The existing tuition policy would have resulted in an annual tuition of $2,835 ($185 for student aid), a figure significantly below the national average of $8,800.
UBC currently charges the lowest tuition for international graduate students among Canada's 13 universities with medical schools and a broad range of PhD programs.
Relative to what other universities charge their international graduate students, UBC's new tuition fees will rank it eighth among similar institutions. Ontario's McMaster University tops the list with average tuition fees close to $17,000.
Birch refused to speculate on what impact the tuition increase might have on enrolment but emphasized that UBC remains committed to recruiting the best international students.
UBC currently has an enrolment of 1,250 international graduate students spread among all faculties.