Okanagan College raises tuition fees

Two per cent hike coming for domestic students, five per cent for international students come fall of 2017.

It’s going to cost students more to pursue their post-secondary education at Okanagan College come the 2017 fall semester.

The OC Board of Governors have approved a two per cent hike for domestic tuition and mandatory fees, and a five per cent increase for international student tuition.

The college currently faces a $1.7 million budget shortfall, and the raising of tuition fees will generate about $500,000.

The decision follows policy set by the provincial government which limits fee increases to that amount.

For a university transfer arts student taking a full load of lecture courses, the increase will amount to approximately $65.28 per year, rising to $3,342.54.

For a student taking a six-month (24-week) electrical foundation program, tuition would increase by $51.73 to $2,638.29.

A year’s arts tuition for an international student will increase to $12,978 from $12,360.

Connie Denesiuk, OC Board of Governors chair, said the board is reluctant to add to cost for students to attend the college, saying providing access to campus programs is an ongoing concern.

“We don’t want to see students turned away because they can’t afford it,” Denesiuk said.

She added that while OC is mandated by law to submit a balanced budget to the provincial government each year, she said a post-secondary institution is about more than that.

“It’s important to note that it’s not just about looking for efficiencies and ways to bring forward a balanced budget, but also to seek out innovative new programs. We want to continue to provide exciting and relevant programming for our students to prepare them for the future.

“We want to add to the college, we just don’t want to remove.”

Denesiuk added that while post-secondary student associations continue to lobby the provincial government to increase core funding, OC speaks though the collective membership voice of the B.C. Association of Institutes and Universities advocating for fiscal funding issues.

“It’s an issue that we never lose sight of,” said OC president Jim Hamilton.

“There are unfortunately not many options for us to increase revenues to off-set funding shortfalls and tuition increases are one of them. But we don’t take having to do that lightly.”

For international student tuition, OC remains 9th in fees to of 15 post-secondary institutions across B.C.

Hamilton said OC is trying to find that “sweet spot” between maximizing potential revenue from international students with offering an education experience they feel is worth paying for.

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