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.

Just Posted

Bail denied for alleged Chilliwack firearm thief convicted of similar crime in Alberta

Andrew Scott Charpentier charged with numerous offences after guns seized from Reece Avenue address

Figures reveal spike in highway traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley

Nearly one in 20 westbound vehicles between Abbotsford and Langley clocked at under 60 km/h

Taser takedown in Chilliwack complex after incident gets violent

Male suspect became agitated under questioning and repeatedly punched an officer

Agassiz man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Young Chilliwack singer launches career with French classic

Deanne Ratzlaff performs as featured vocalist in La Vie en Rose in Chilliwack, London and Paris

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Former Fernie Ghostrider re-signs with Vancouver Canucks

Josh Teves has signed a two-year contract with the NHL team

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Most Read