Universities in British Columbia have relied on the tuition funds of international students to balance budgets for almost two decades. International students experience discrimination and exclusion on a regular basis while putting billions into the economy and creating thousands of jobs. One of the biggest problems facing international students in BC is unmandated, drastic tuition increases, an issue that not only causes great financial instability for international students but poses a significant threat to BC’s economy.

What do we want?

Equality! The BC Tuition Limit Policy currently mandates that tuition increases for domestic students must not exceed 2% — but the same policy does not apply to international student tuition. This means that international students face extreme insecurity when budgeting for their education; not knowing from year to year if their tuition rates will increase by two percent, 20%, or 50%.

At Capilano University, international students make up under half of the student population, yet they are funding over 80% of the universities’ tuition fee revenue (based on previous year calculations). Furthermore, international student tuition has risen by almost 600% since 1991.¹ In 2003, average undergraduate international tuition fees in BC were the highest in Canada at $13,440 for a year of full-time study, and are currently the second-highest at $27,705 in 2019-2020 (6).”

Capilano University currently respects the 2% tuition increase limit for both domestic and international students as an act of good faith, but there is no policy or regulation in place to prevent the Board of Governors or university administration from a sudden change in practices, which could result in a drastic tuition hike for international students. It is important that international students at Capilano receive assurance in the form of official policy from the university that their tuition increase limits will not suddenly change from year-to-year. 

When do we want it?

Now! January 2020 marks the launch of our Cap International Tuition campaign, an initiative encouraging Capilano University to implement official policy limiting tuition increases to 2% for all students. We will be hosting a variety of events on campus and launching an awareness campaign across all social media platforms. Check back here for more information in the coming weeks! 


Interested in supporting the Cap International Tuition campaign as a volunteer? Or just looking for something fun to do during quarantine? We need help spreading the word, and collecting petition signatures! You could even win a limited edition Cap IT hat! 

There are three ways you can help: 

Post online

Please share these graphics on all your social media pages! We have graphics for Instagram posts, stories, and Facebook! Make sure you tag @capstudentunion in your post for a chance to win one of our Cap IT caps! If you tag your friends in the post, and they also share on their social media, you both get an extra entry! 

Message your friends 

Since we’re all stuck inside until further notice, virtual communication has become very important in staying in touch with each other! To increase the reach of our petition, would you consider texting all your friends in contact list about the Cap IT petition? See below for an easy script you can use, or make your own! Reach out to if you have questions about this!

“Hey [Bob]! I’m volunteering for the Cap IT campaign with the Capilano Students’ Union. The Cap IT International Tuition campaign demands that Capilano University implement official policy limiting tuition increases to 2% for all students. International students pay over four times the domestic student tuition rate and, unlike domestic students, there is no cap on tuition increases — meaning they have no financial security. Would you be willing to sign our online petition?”

Of course, we’re assuming we don’t know Bob that well. If Bob were our best friend, we might start with, “Bobby! Long time no see buddy, I can’t wait to hang out again when this quarantine ends. How’s your pet tarantula? Also, have you heard of the Cap IT campaign?”

Share your story

If you are an international student, or you know an international student, we want to hear your story! Right now there is nothing preventing Capilano University increasing international tuition by 5%, 15%, or 25%. If you feel comfortable, please share a quick vide on social media explaining how a sudden increase like this would affect you!

We would like to publish as many first-hand accounts of international students’ struggles as possible. If you have faced financial difficulties with tuition fees, additional fees such as textbook costs, proving financial support when applying for a study permit, high costs of living, or any other financial barrier, be sure to include this in your story.

Make sure you tag @capstudentunion in your post for a chance to win one of our Cap IT caps! If you tag your friends in the post, and they also share on their social media, you both get an extra entry!

¹ Statistics Canada (2003). The Daily: University tuition fees; Statistics Canada (2019). Table 477-0077 – Canadian and international tuition fees by level of study, annual (dollars) (accessed: September 9, 2019; (Data from 1991 added from: Canadian Association of University Teachers (2017). Almanac of post secondary education in Canada