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B.C. university cuts budget $13M due to international student decline

University of Victoria says it’s too early to determine which areas of the school will be affected
UVic says declining international student enrolment is the primary cause for budget cuts. (Black Press Media photo file)

The University of Victoria (UVic) is planning budget cuts for the 2024/2025 year, citing declining international student enrolment as the primary cause.

Four per cent of the Greater Victoria university’s operating budget – around $13 million – is on the chopping block.

The university is uncertain what the cuts will impact.

“It is too early in the budgeting process to determine which areas of the university will be affected by the budget reduction and by how much. These decisions will be made over the coming months, in consultation with university leadership, and we expect to provide an update to our campus community in May,” UVic wrote in a statement to Black Press Media.

READ MORE: New admissions cap will cut international student visas by 35 per cent

UVic experienced a decline in international enrolments in 2022/2023. The school stated in its new budget it was likely due to pandemic-related factors.

The university said international students, “experienced a significant backlog of study permit requests in 2022, leaving many students without study permits before the start of the fall term. As a result, some prospective international students deferred while others chose post-secondary institutions outside of Canada.”

Additionally, in January the federal government announced a temporary cap on new student visas – 364,000 for 2024 compared to the 560,000 issued the previous year.

READ MORE: Victoria university sees feds’ international student cap as an ‘opportunity’

“I look at UVic and I look at how international students are supported here and I see glaring insufficiency and inadequacy,” said Cleo Philp, director of campaigns and community relations for the UVic Students’ Society. “I know there are so many international students that feel like they’re unsupported.”

In the 2023/2024 budget, the university cut four per cent across the board. Philp said they and their predecessors believe “university operating budgets are unsustainably dependent on international student tuition.”

Of the revenue UVic received in the 2023/2024 school year, 35 per cent came from student tuition and 33 per cent of that was from international student tuition.

Philp believes the government needs to lend a hand so UVic doesn’t have to make budget cuts impacting international students. Government grants made up a little over half of UVic’s funding in the 2023/2024 season, at 54 per cent.

“Everyone has been telling the government that this is the kind of thing that’s going to happen and that the province really needs to step up and increase operating grants.”

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About the Author: Ella Matte

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