University students a major retail market

International students at the University of the Fraser Valley are pumping about $32 million a year into the local economy, says UFV president Mark Evered.

International students at the University of the Fraser Valley are pumping about $32 million a year into the local economy, says UFV president Mark Evered.

“That’s a lot of money coming into the businesses of the Fraser Valley,” he said, at a Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce lunch last week.

Most of the 800 international students attend classes at UFV’s Abbotsford campus, he said, but programs are being developed that would see more coming to Chilliwack’s new $40-million campus, which will open later this year.

“Let’s be frank, these are not poor students,” Evered said, and each spends about $40,000 a year, $13,000 on tuition and the remainder on accommodation, food, clothing, cars and family visits.

Evered was talking to the chamber about the unique “partnership” UFV has with Chilliwack, and with each of the communities it serves in the Fraser Valley.

The university has a total student population of about 16,000 plus 1,500 staff, making it larger than some B.C. communities, such as Comox, Terrace and Salmon Arm.

And these young students form a major market, not only for sales, but as a pool of trained, creative talent for the future.

Evered said the training students get in trades or professions at UFV is a “portal to this new world.”

“If we get it right, they’ll be building the economy and the businesses here that we can be proud of,” he said.

So the university sees its role as going “well beyond traditional eduction,” he said, to form an integral part of the social, cultural, economic and environmental development of the Fraser Valley.

“We owe you a first-class university that serves your region,” he said.

UFV has grown in the past 20 years, from a community college holding classes in church basements and storefronts, to a full, degree-granting university because of the tenacity of local residents, Evered said.

“We’re no longer a little university,” he said, and pointed to a recently signed agreement with a Dutch university that is just the kind of partnership “with industry, with universities, and with the community … that’s the kind of university we’re trying to build.”

But he added that funding for UFV will continue to be an issue as government resources are stretched thin.

The B.C. government currently contributes $56 million annually, or just over half of UFV’s $100-million budget. Only one-quarter comes from student tuition, the remaining one-quarter is raised by donations and other fundraising endeavors.

“The reality is we’re going to have to find other ways to fund our institutions,” Evered said.

He asked the business community to take an active role in the university’s goal of serving the region, through donations or by hiring students.

“Only together can we make this your university,” he said.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

Just Posted

B.C. reservists gather for military communications training in Chilliwack

Canadian Army’s communication skills are used in battle as well as domestic emergencies

VIDEO: ‘Heroes’ rescue teenager trapped in vehicle in water-filled ditch in Chilliwack

Two men sprang into action, holding 17-year-old’s head out of water as they pried open door

Sarah Wark rallies to beat Prince Edward Island at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Wark wasn’t at the top of her game, but her team did enough to improve to 6-3 overall.

GW Graham junior boys play underdog role at basketball provincials

One of two at-large seeds in the 32 team field, the Grizzlies face a tough opponent out of the gate.

Unfinished business for GW Graham basketball Grizzlies at AA provincials

GWG’s senior girls squad advanced to the final before losing in 2018 and look to win it all in 2019.

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Two boys saved after falling through ice in Coquitlam

RCMP say a Good Samaritan pulled the kids to safety

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

Most Read