Two students paying their tuition online on their laptop
August 7, 2018
4 mins read

Paying tuition: Steps for a stress-free experience

Your tuition and fees for Term 1 are due on Sept. 5. That may sound like a lot of time, but missing a step along the way can make the payment process stressful.

Below are some pointers that will hopefully save you any hassle!

Understand your payment options so you can find the best fit

There are a variety of ways to pay tuition and fees at UBC. Start by going through the list of all options available and find the one that works best for you.  

Things to keep in mind:

  • Consider whether you plan to pay online through the Student Service Centre (SSC), or whether you plan on making an electronic funds transfer from your bank’s website.
  • Think about setting up a method of payment that you can continue to use throughout your degree.
  • And remember: UBC does not accept cash payments for tuition!

Consider some tried-and-true methods

Whether you are a domestic or international student, making an online payment directly from the SSC is generally the easiest option. You can either enter your banking details to make a transfer, or pay via Interac Online—log in to your SSC to complete either option.

If you choose to pay via Interac Online, be sure to check in advance that your daily Interac limit can cover your entire payment amount. If not, you’ll want to build in some extra time to make the payment in two (or more) transactions.

Protip: If, like me, you’re the kind of person who will pay their registration deposit minutes before course registration opens, know that Interac Online payments are processed within seconds—hurray!

Give yourself lots of time

Since good financial standing is key to accessing many UBC services, leaving time for unexpected roadblocks is super smart.

When I first paid tuition as a new international student at UBC, I used the (now-retired) wire transfer method from my home country. Because it was not online, I anticipated some delay and started the process 2-3 weeks in advance. This gave me a comfortable buffer for any problems that could arise and helped me bypass late payment charges.

Keep in mind that, for certain payment methods, it’s normal for your payment to take 1-3 business days to appear on the SSC. Again, if you leave some buffer time, this will save you from worrying about not seeing the amount applied in your SSC right away!

Protip: Remember that financial institutions work only on business days, so the time lag doesn’t include weekends. 

If you live in residence, there may be an extra step

As a student, it’s easy to call everything we have to pay ‘tuition’ when really tuition, student fees, and (if you live in campus housing) residence fees are separate things. Tuition is what is charged for academic courses, while student fees include things common to all students, like your U-Pass and the AMS membership fee. Residence fees include housing and meal plan fees.

Tuition and student fees will appear as one line item—referenced as your “2018W September Instalment”—in the Financial Summary section of your SSC. Click on the line item and you can see the specific breakdown. Residence fees will appear as its own line item as well (see the sample screenshot below).

Screenshot of sample Financial Summary section of SSC

If you are paying through the SSC, you don’t have to worry about paying your residence fees separately from your 2018W September Instalment, as the online portal will apply your payment accordingly.

But, if you use online banking to pay your tuition (as shown in this video tutorial), you’ll need to:

  • Check your financial summary for the amount of your instalment (which includes tuition and student fees) and pay that amount to the UBC tuition account.
  • Then pay your residence (i.e. housing and meal plan fees) separately to Student Housing and Hospitality Services (SHHS), i.e. outside the SSC.

Protip: SHHS offers a host of payment methods, and you can even pay in person with cash, cheque, or debit card at their main office.

If you’ve received a UBC award, here’s what to look out for

If you’ve been awarded a UBC scholarship, bursary, or other type of award, you will see the details in the SSC. In some cases, when you receive funding after tuition is due, one portion of it will be applied automatically to next term’s tuition while the remaining will be deposited into your bank account.

Be sure to read the confirmation of your award carefully as it outlines how the funds are applied to your account. Most UBC awards will be assigned mid-to-late August and will pay out to your account during the first week of classes in September.

If you add courses after Sept. 5, check the SSC for new payment deadlines

It’s common for students to add, drop, and switch courses in the first few weeks of school.

If you add a course after the Sept. 5 tuition deadline (without dropping any others), you’ll be assessed an additional payment due date, set in early October.

Use the Financial Summary section of your SSC to stay in the loop on new tuition amounts and when they’re due.

When all else fails, your ES Advisor prevails

Life happens and there can sometimes be glitches that you don’t expect. If you pay tuition and it doesn’t show up on the SSC for any reason, your go-to person is your Enrolment Services Advisor. Know that you can contact your advisor for help with any troubleshooting or financial issues.

Find your assigned advisor through the SSC under ‘Personal Info’ and then UBC ‘Contacts’. When emailing them, include your student number.

Protip: When paying tuition, always take screenshots of what you see on your screen. If your transaction does not go through or a payment doesn’t appear, share the screenshots with your ES Advisor as it’ll help them understand the issue better.