The new UFV campus has opened with a $2.4 million capital grant from the provincial government

Demand outstrips government funding at new UFV campus in Chilliwack

UFV’s new Chilliwack campus, which opened last week, is at 105 percent of its capacity — five percent more students that it's funded for.

The new Chilliwack campus of the University of the Fraser Valley opened its doors to about 2,700 students last week, aided by an additional $2.4 million capital grant from the B.C. government.

But government funding on the operational side has not kept pace with student demand in the Fraser Valley, one of the fastest-growing regions in the province.

“The funding we need is not only for capital projects, it’s also for our programs and studies,” said Dr. Eric Davis, UFV’s provost and vice-president.

He said UFV’s new campus in Chilliwack opened last week at 105 percent of its capacity — “that’s five percent more students that we’re funded for.”

The Abbotsford campus is operating at 130 percent of its capacity, he said.

UFV gets half its funding from the B.C. government, one quarter from student tuition and the remaining quarter from donations and commercial partnerships.

“We try to make up that other 25 percent, but we’re stretched to capacity,” Davis said.

Because the university’s costs increase each year from inflation, he said, “either we bring in more money or we get smaller” by cutting back student programs.

But that flies in the face of student demand for post-secondary education in the Fraser Valley, one of the fastest-growing regions in the province.

“We can’t keep up with the demand,” Davis said, and there are growing waitlists for courses.

Students who can’t get into the courses they need take longer to graduate and their cost of education goes up.

The B.C. government says taxpayers are providing $55 million to UFV operations this year, up from $35 million in 2001-02, and the number of funded student spaces has increased 35 percent since 2003-04. The government has invested a total $1.9 billion in post-secondary education this year.

But Davis said universities and colleges across B.C. have “tough choices” to make in how to spend a limited amount of government funding.

He said UFV has two budget priorities — providing students with the best undergraduate education possible, and providing the community with an economic and educational partner.

“When we do our budgeting, when we do our education planning, it’s with these two priorities in mind,” he said.

In March, the B.C. government announced a $70-million cut to its post-secondary education budget over the next three years, which it claimed universities could make up by trimming administrative spending.

However, university officials, including UFV president Mark Evered, worried that in fact student programs or student admissions would need to be cut as a result.

The $2.4 million in capital funding announced last week is going toward upgrades at both the Chilliwack and Abbotsford campus and replacing the roof of the Trades and Technology Centre.

UFV also announced a short-term training program in the region with one-time funding of $457,000 from the B.C. government.

UFV expects to create up to 44 seats in a variety of trades-releated fields over the coming year, including welding and skills upgrade programs that will focus on trades and agriculture.

Just Posted

RCMP’s auto theft team nabs Chilliwack suspect

Kao Daniel Macaulay, well-known to police, arrested in stolen red Honda on March 20

UPDATE: Man with gunshot wound drives into ditch on Chilliwack River Road

Serious crimes investigators believe early morning shooting to be targeted

WATCH: Rally at MP’s office Friday in Chilliwack to stop KM pipeline

Water samples from Chilliwack rivers were delivered to MP Strahl’s office in a symbolic gesture

Garrison store going to new heights for children’s charity

Save-On Foods employees raising cash for BC Children’s Hospital, by throwing managers from airplane

Tourism Chilliwack brings home industry award of excellence

Sto:lo Welcome Figures carving project outside the Visitor Centre loomed large in the win

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

B.C. pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions from around B.C. for National Puppy Day 2018

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

B.C. officials failed to tell Kiwis Fraser Health CEO had been fired in 2014

New Zealand spending scandal exposes Dr. Nigel Murray 2014 exit from B.C. job

PHOTOS: Students exhibit stunning paper couture dresses

22 paper made gowns will be on display at Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre until March 27

Most Read