Board of governors approve TRU tuition hikes; 5% international, 2% domestic

TRU hiking tuition rates

Thompson Rivers University has hiked international student tuition fees by five per cent, a move the university says is another step in its three-year tuition plan.

The university’s board of governors voted Friday to increase international tuition by five per cent and domestic tuition by two per cent.

The international tuition hike is the second year of the university’s three-year plan to introduce a guaranteed-fee model.

“Which means when a student comes here they pay one price, one rate every year. The rate won't change for the years that they're here,” said Matt Milovick, TRU's vice-president of administration and finance.

The board approved a 6.9 per cent inflationary increase to international tuition a year ago.

Milovick said when the university does adopt the guaranteed fee model, tuition will likely be hiked again.

"When we moved to the guaranteed fee model, obviously there's going to be an increase applied to try to capture some of that inflation up front," Milovick said.

"Even with a double digit increase, we're still well behind all the other [Research Universities’ Council of British Columbia] institutions, significantly behind."

Baihua Chadwick, TRU’s vice-president international, said the university is currently working on system upgrades to implement the new fee model by 2026.

The increase to international tuition was approved despite a letter from TRU’s students union asking the university to cap international tuition increases to two per cent or, at maximum, raise tuition by 3.9 per cent — based on the published annual 2023 Canadian Price Index.

The letter states the board agreed to explore inflationary increases for international students last year to reduce the financial strain on students, and asks TRU to “uphold this commitment.”

Student representative Shariyer Chowdhury motioned to amend the increase to 3.9 per cent, a proposal that was ultimately shot down.

“I am suggesting this amendment based off — I believe that the Board of Governors last spring discussed implementing inflationary based increases over the next two years,” Chowdhury said.

“Inflation impacts individuals the most and international students are the first ones impacted when it comes to housing and global economic concerns.”

Milovick said the five per cent increase was based on the British Columbia index from October 2022 to September 2023 and is consistent with the methodology used last year.

“I think from the board's perspective, we've been true to the commitment that we've made with respect to pricing,” Milovick said.

According to Milovick, the increase is comparable to other institutions. He said UBC will also be increasing by five per cent, UVIC will be increasing by 6.75 per cent, and SFU and UNBC are increasing by four per cent.

According to TRU’s administration, a two per cent increase to domestic tuition is the maximum allowed per annum by the provincial government, and to their knowledge every university in B.C. increases their fees by the maximum permissible amount.

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