UBC students facing rising rent costs on campus
Posted January 24, 2023 9:19 pm.
Last Updated January 24, 2023 9:20 pm.
A University of British Columbia (UBC) student says he’s forced to choose between studying and picking up more part-time work after hearing the school is raising residence rent.
Kevin Cui, a civil engineering student who lives in a UBC residence says this year has felt like a constant tug of war between the university and student body, but didn’t expect this kind of jump.
“Even though increases can be expected, I feel like six to eight per cent as a one time increase is unheard of in the past few years. Usually it’s much, much lower than that. So I would hope the university could take steps to consider the well-being of students, especially since they also increased the tuition and cut funding to food security programs just a while ago,” said Cui.
Rent on campus is supposed to rise by up to eight per cent starting in May. In contrast, the B.C. government’s limit for landlords raising rent is 2 per cent.
UBC increased tuition by two to five per cent for domestic and international students, which also comes into effect this May. A UBC student housing representative says the fee hikes are to cover operation costs from freezing rent increases for two years during the pandemic, as well as inflation.
“Labor increases, supplies and materials, services that we need to manage our residences – all those costs are going up. And our sole source of revenue to cover those is just through the rents that we charge students,” explained Andrew Parr, Associate Vice President of UBC Student Housing and Community Services.
Parr says the range of increases depend on the age and condition of the rental units, and the school’s objective was to keep rent as affordable as possible for students.
Mackenzy Metcalfe, executive director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, says this type of thing is happening at universities across Canada.
“This week, the University of Calgary Board of Governors just voted to increase domestic tuition by 5.5 per cent for all students. And we’ve seen these increases in other areas as well. Specifically, the University of Alberta Western University, at UBC like you mentioned, and also with the University of Toronto.”
Metcalfe says the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations are in talks with the federal government about increasing grants for students to help them with these higher costs of living.
“Students are really vulnerable when it comes to inflation because their main costs are food, housing and tuition, which are all very susceptible to inflation. And students don’t work full time – they work part time during the summer, and they might work full time during the summer as well,” Metcalfe explained.
Cui says he will either have to take up more part-time shifts at his work or find a cheaper residence somewhere else before the next school year. He says he wishes he had more support from UBC.
“I feel like we should be on the same team because when the students do well mentally and financially and in their educate in their programs, I feel like the university also benefits.”