UBC’s Board of Governors this week dramatically increased opportunities for student housing on UBC’s Vancouver campus when it unanimously approved the formation of a Student Housing Financing Endowment.
This new fund will direct a large portion of land lease proceeds from creating the residential Utown@UBC community on the Vancouver campus toward student housing projects.
Responding to student concerns, the Board of Governors has set an eventual goal of 50 per cent of full-time undergraduate students living on campus. This goal was written into the Land Use Plan Amendments completed in January following broad community consultations. At present 29 per cent of full-time undergraduate students live on the Vancouver campus.
“We know that students in residence highly value the rich educational and social experiences that come from living on campus,” UBC President Stephen Toope said. “UBC already has the highest number of students in residence of any Canadian university, but we must do better. Given the high cost of living in Vancouver, expanding this number is a key academic priority.”
The Student Housing Financing Endowment will allow the University to pursue student housing objectives without incurring the extra cost of market borrowing that is normally required because student housing projects are not funded by government.
“What we are announcing today is part of a continuum of sustainability initiatives at UBC that are contributing to a complete community where people live, work, play, teach and study,” Toope said. “This endowment will be one tool for delivering on the Housing Action Plan for students, faculty and staff that the University is now elaborating.”
The endowment structure of the new fund “preserves the land lease proceeds generated from creating a residential community as a long-term source of income for student housing,” said UBC Board Chair, Bill Levine. “This ensures that land revenues will continue to benefit future generations of UBC students.”