Last update: April 26, 2018

Tuition and Fees for New Programs

For a new program, the Provost’s Office, through the Strategy and Decision Support (SDS) team, assists the Faculty or School in determining the appropriate tuition, to be recommended by the President to the Board of Governors, including an assessment of whether the proposed tuition is feasible and sustainable, in the long run.  Typically, costs to deliver a new program, tuition fees of similar programs at UBC and at peer institutions, the anticipated demand for the program, anticipated labour market outcomes, currency exchange rates, and other relevant factors are evaluated in determining a recommended tuition for domestic and international students.  Once the Faculty or School has determined the amount of tuition believed to be appropriate for the new program, and has completed a recommended tuition fee template and a draft Board of Governors’ docket, SDS will consult with Student Financial Services (SFS) to be sure that the Faculty or School did not omit any relevant fees and that the fee structure is able to be implemented in the student information system (SIS), before the Faculty or School conducts a student consultation, with the support of the Office of the Vice-President, Students, and prepares a final Board docket.  SDS assists the Faculty or School in completing and submitting the Board docket to meet the Board submission timeline and obtaining the approval of the Provost and the President.

Attachment: 2018/19 Appendix 1 - Tuition Fees Template

Tuition for Existing Programs

For an existing program, the Provost’s Office, through the Vice-Provost & Associate Vice-President, Enrolment and Academic Facilities, and SDS, assists the Faculty or School in the determination of an appropriate change to the current tuition fee, subject to government policies. The rationale for the change must be presented by the Faculty or School, in their draft Board submissions.  Similar to the process for new programs, SFS assists and determines whether the revised structure is implementable in the student information system (SIS). 

For a change in the fee structure (e.g., instalment-based to credit-based or instalment-based to course-based), it is best if the proponent first discusses the proposed change with the Vice-Provost & Associate Vice-President, Enrolment and Academic Facilities, and provides the rationale for the change. Once the Provost’s Office has agreed, in principle, that the recommended change can proceed, the program should then discuss the proposal with SFS to be sure that the change can be implemented correctly in the student information system (SIS).  The conventional fee change requirements apply in this case, including a student consultation, with the support of the Office of the Vice-President, Students, the Provost’s and President’s approval and the Board of Governors’ approval. 

If the recommended change is to be included as part of the annual recommended increases/changes of tuition fees and program fees, SFS will prepare a board docket and submit the recommended change along with other proposed increases to the Board by November of each year.  Otherwise, SDS will assist the program in completing the materials needed for the Provost’s, President’s and Board’s approval.

Non-Refundable Acceptance Deposits

New Non-Refundable Acceptance Deposits

A program typically needs to provide a rationale for charging a non-refundable acceptance deposit. For a new program, if a deposit is required, the recommendation is normally included as part of the Board docket provided for the approval of the new tuition.  For an existing program, if a non-refundable acceptance deposit is to be introduced, the Faculty or School must conduct a student consultation with the support of the Office of the Vice-President, Students.  A memo to the President should be prepared by the proponent, requesting approval of the non-refundable acceptance deposit citing the rationale for collecting the deposit.  If approved by the President, the memo is submitted to the Board of Governors for their information.  The program is responsible for collecting the non-refundable acceptance deposit; at this time, the student information system is not equipped to assess graduate program non-refundable acceptance deposits.  For graduate programs, please contact the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to determine if their application system can assist with collecting the non-refundable acceptance deposit. The Faculty or School must prepare the student consultation materials and the memo for the President.  SFS will assist the Faculty or School in finalizing the fees section and will coordinate the submission of the President’s memo and the Board docket.

The tuition deposit is generally non-refundable if the student decides to not attend UBC. If they make a change to their program of choice, then the non-refundable tuition deposit will be applied against the tuition for the new program.  Senior citizens (BC residents who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents aged 65 years or over during the session in which they are registered) are not asked to pay a deposit in some graduate programs.  Undergraduate students who have no registration activity may have their deposit refunded for exceptional circumstances if they contact Enrolment Services.  Graduate students may have their deposits refunded or deferred for exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the program director. The deposit becomes non-refundable immediately upon registration in any course, and cannot be transferred to another session, nor can it be applied to non-refundable student fees (i.e., U-Pass, Medical Insurance).  Exceptions may be made if an international student is refused a study permit by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Once a new non-refundable acceptance deposit has been approved, the Faculty or School will work with ePayment or the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to ensure that students will be able to pay the non-refundable acceptance deposit online.  Once students have accepted the offer of admission and paid the acceptance deposit, the Faculty or School collects the deposit, provides a list of the registered students and their students IDs, along with the cash receipts and the chartfield information, and submits the information to the processing staff of SFS, who will apply the deposit amounts to the students’ accounts in SIS.

There are no specified maximum or minimum deposit amounts.  The amount of the deposit depends on the rationale for charging a deposit and should be similar to the deposits established for similar UBC programs or of peer institutions.  The proponent should keep in mind that while payment of a deposit is indicative of a student’s commitment, very large deposits may deter some qualified students from accepting an offer of admission altogether.  The timing and amount of a deposit can create some issues.  For example, if a student applies to several institutions, it is in the student’s interest to have all offers before being required to make a financial commitment.  Small deposits may have little effect on a student’s “hedging” behaviour; multiple offers may be held or the student may not make the final decision to attend until a very late date.[1]

The deposit amount can be adjusted, upon request.  The request for change should follow the process for establishing a deposit for a first time.  

Eliminating Non-Refundable Acceptance Deposits

A Faculty or School can simply stop collecting a deposit.  A memo to SFS indicating that the deposit is no longer being collected would allow SFS to update its documentation.  The Faculty or School is required to update the information on their website and remove the information related to the deposit. For graduate programs, please also inform Graduate Studies.


[1] Nick Heath, Nicholas Heath Consulting Services Inc. (2011, March). An overview of admissions practices

at BC post-secondary institutions. Vancouver, BC: BC Council on Admissions and Transfer.