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SFU Board passes budget to sustain academic programming

March 21, 2019
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On Thursday, March 21, the SFU Board of Governors approved SFU’s budget for the 2019/20 fiscal year. The budget demonstrates the university’s ongoing commitment to high-quality academic programming and support for students. The budget approval comes after a five-month budgeting and consultation process.  
 
Under the University Act, universities are not permitted to run a deficit, therefore a balanced budget is mandatory. SFU, and other universities, are facing financial pressures that include being competitive in faculty recruitment and retention (particularly in high demand sectors), inflation, and increasing capital costs to maintain and upgrade campuses.
 
The consultation process included online and in person opportunities for students to participate and provide input. Elected student leadership consulted their members in a student budget consultation and were encouraged to provide their feedback to the University throughout the process. Members of the Tuition Freeze Now group were also given time to present to the Board in advance of this final decision.
 
The 2019/20 budget includes a tuition increase. Our priority is to provide the best supports and services possible to students attending SFU. As in previous years, a portion of tuition fees will be invested back into student services and support programs, including scholarships, bursaries, student advising, mental health and many other programs and services.
 
Even with a tuition increase there will be a shortfall of $3.1M, which will be covered through review of administrative expenses and finding efficiencies.
 
For existing undergraduate or graduate students, tuition will increase by two per cent (for domestic students) or four per cent for current international undergraduate students and a small number of current international graduate students. New international undergraduate students will see a larger increase in SFU’s tuition costs, from 12 per cent to 20 per cent for programs in high demand or at a higher cost to deliver.

Breakdown of tuition increases starting September 2019:

  • Eighty per cent of undergraduate students will see increases of 2%, with 15% of them seeing an increase of 4%.
  • The increase that new undergraduate international students will see depends on the program they are looking to register for. The majority of new international undergraduate students will see SFU’s tuition costs increase by 12%; costs will increase by 16% for courses in Computer Science, Engineering Science and Mechatronics and by 20% for courses in Business. Even with the tuition fee increases, SFU’s international tuition fees are lower than many comparable programs at similarly ranked universities in BC and Canada.
  • Ninety-four per cent of graduate students will see a 2% increase, with the remainder seeing an increase of 4% (limited to professional programs).