The University of Northern British Columbia Board of Governors have delivered a balanced budget for 2017-18. A combined operating and ancillary services budget of $91.3 million has been approved.
The operating and ancillary budget in 2016-17 was just over $86 million. “It always does go up every year because our costs go up for things like library books, for software, for faculty salaries and so on,” says Robert Knight, the Vice-President of Finance and Business Operations at UNBC. “You will always see some inflation in the budget.”
Students can expect a tuition fee increase of 2%. The average full-time undergraduate student will now pay $5,213 per year, an increase of $102.
“An increase in tuition is obviously never good from a student perspective,” says the Northern Undergraduate Student Society (NUGGS) President, Erik Searle. “Unfortunately a 2% increase is pretty standard for universities across the province. It is the most they can raise tuition by. You would be hard-pressed to find an institution that’s not doing that. So not really a UNBC issue specifically, but more of an issue in our society in general.”
Knight says part of the increase to tuition is due to the strong U.S. dollar. “A lot of the things that UNBC has to buy, like library books and software, are priced in U.S. dollars. So we do have to have some increase in revenue in order to pay for those things you need to have in order to operate a University.”
The budget will allow the University to provide the same level of service, while helping with student recruitment. Money has been allocated to hiring people to work on increasing student enrollment. UNBC aims to increase enrollment by 5% (or more) each year through 2020.