KPU projects $40 million increase in yearly revenue from international student tuition

The school expects revenue to rise by 58 per cent over 2022-2023 totaling about $109 million

Art by Kristen Frier

Art by Kristen Frier

Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s draft budget for 2022-2023 shows the school expects to bring in an increase of $40 million more in revenue from international student tuition compared to the last fiscal year.

The revenue received from international student tuition for the 2021-2022 school year amounted to a little over $69 million in total. Over the next year, that number is expected to increase by 58 per cent to about $109 million in total.

The university also expects a slight decrease in revenue from domestic student tuition, amounting to around $161,000 less over the next fiscal year.

In an emailed statement to The Runner, KPU Chief Financial Officer Chervahun Emilien said that coming into the 2021-2022 school year the university set a “conservative projection” as they awaited the amount of registration from international students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“In reality, international student enrolment at KPU for 2021-22 increased significantly over 2020-21,” reads the statement.

“As a result of better than expected enrolment and the current COVID-19 pandemic trajectory, KPU is confident that international student demand will remain strong and this is reflected in the tuition forecasts for the 2022-23 fiscal year. This accounts for much of the projected revenue increase.” 

The cost of tuition for all students will increase by the standard 2 per cent allowed in B.C.

“A two per cent increase in international student tuition fees, which matches the rise for domestic students, and some increase in seat capacity through, for example, the addition of new entertainment arts programming, are smaller factors for the projected revenue increase,” Emilien added. 

During a virtual meeting on March 21, KPU’s senate discussed the proposed budget. KPU president Alan Davis said the budget is “less risk-averse with respect to particular success in international recruitment.” 

Davis said KPU relies on the tuition from students since only one-third of the university’s revenue comes from the government through operating grants.

“We’re very much reliant on the tuition, and being able to not just recruit students, but look after them and so the word gets out that KPU is a good place to be,” Davis said. 

As the years have gone by, many post-secondary institutions in Canada have increasingly relied on tuition fees from international students to supplement their revenue. Tuition fees international students paid to attend universities in Canada increased by an average of 4.9 per cent in the 2021-2022 school year, totallying about $33,623, according to Statistics Canada

“Increasingly, postsecondary institutions have relied on income from international students as part of their revenue stream,” reads the Statistics Canada website. 

Since the 2017-2018 school year, the annual cost of tuition for domestic undergraduate students in Canada has remained under $7,000. For international undergraduate students, the past five years show an initial price of $25,549, which increased to $33,623. This is almost a $10,000 increase over the same period of time. 

Data by Statistics Canada shows international undergraduate students pay the highest tuition in the province of Ontario, and B.C. follows close behind.

In a statement to The Runner, KPU vice president of students Steve Cardwell said the university is working to continue to accommodate students with the blended method of teaching. 

“The strong demand from international students is a testament to the programs and services that KPU offers that enable us to provide great experiences for all students during these past few years. It has resulted in continued interest from students around the world to come to KPU to take courses and graduate with degrees and diplomas,” Cardwell wrote.