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Original News Release





March 17, 2004

Office of the Premier

Ministry of Advanced Education





The provincial government is working to add 25,000 new post secondary student spaces by 2010 to increase student access and opportunities across B.C. The new University of British Columbia, Okanagan and a separate Okanagan College are key components.


§         Okanagan University College, which currently has 6,600 student spaces in university and trades, technical and applied programs, will be transformed into two separate institutions:  UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College.


§         By 2009-10, the number of student spaces in the region will increase by 5,500 to a total of 12,100, compared with Okanagan University College’s current total of 6,600 seats:

  • UBC Okanagan will accommodate the equivalent of 7,500 full-time students in undergraduate, graduate and PhD programs. 
  • Okanagan College will have 4,600 student spaces in developmental, university transfer, trades, technical and applied programs, and will be B.C.’s second-largest college outside the Lower Mainland. 


Breakdown of 5,500 new Okanagan seats by institution:






3-year total




2010 total

UBC Okanagan









Okanagan College




















§         Government also considered a proposal that Okanagan University College evolve into a full research university, as Okanagan University.


Comparison of UBC Okanagan/Okanagan College model vs. Okanagan University model


Proposed Plan

UBC Okanagan / Okanagan College Option


Okanagan University Option

New Spaces

5,500 new spaces by 2009/10


3,015 new spaces by 2009/10

Research Capacity

$75 million



$11 million


Total Economic Benefit

Estimated $507 million total annual economic impact from both institutions



Estimated $300 million total economic impact from both university and college program operations and research  (note: this is based on the same economic impact model used to calculate the UBC economic impact)


Costs to taxpayers

$102 million per year in operating grants


$80 million in university capital funding; potential for up to $20 million for college by 2010

$137 million per year in operating grants


$223 million in capital funding


Confidence in ability to deliver

UBC routinely over-produces student FTEs



OUC has under-produced student FTEs for the past six years.






§         Operating grants to UBC Okanagan and the Okanagan College will double by 2009-10, compared with today’s grants to Okanagan University College.  Their combined grants will be $102 million; Okanagan University College currently receives about $50 million.


§         Government will invest up to $80 million in capital development for UBC Okanagan.  In addition, UBC plans to use its own resources to build academic research infrastructure, student residences and eventually a research park.


§         Upgrades and renovations at Okanagan College will also be undertaken, with further assessment of capital needs to be completed during the transition period.  An estimated $20 million will likely be committed capital improvements at the college.


§         The new institutions will result in an estimated $500 million in annual economic benefit for the region, more than four times the $117 million benefit from OUC’s operations today.  When fully implemented, the expansion will generate an estimated 2,100 new direct and indirect jobs.


§         A strong partnership between UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College will result in:

  • More programs at the college’s KLO Road campus in Kelowna and regional campuses.
  • Efficient credit transfer between the two institutions.
  • Expanded online offerings at the college’s regional campuses.
  • New lab-based science courses at the college integrated with UBC Okanagan science programs.
  • Closely linked continuing education studies that respond to community needs.


§         UBC Okanagan’s affiliation with UBC Vancouver will provide instant international credibility to attract both faculty and research investment.


§         Based on the highly successful University of California model, UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver will each have an independent senate to set academic priorities for their respective institutions, based on regional needs and priorities. At the same time, they will share a common board of governors, with strong representation from each region.


§         UBC Okanagan’s new senate with representatives from the region will help determine the educational programs offered, in a way that reflects and meets the needs of the Okanagan. These programs will likely include arts and sciences, health sciences, education, social work, information technology, business, agriculture and First Nations studies. 


§         Okanagan College will offer a range of community college programming, including developmental programs, industry training, career/technical and vocational programs and university transfer programs.


§         During the transition period, Okanagan University College will be governed by a public administrator, who will oversee all operations and the transition into two distinct institutions.  Two local advisory councils will guide this process.  The UBC Okanagan council will be led by former Okanagan University College board chair Brad Bennett; the chair of the Okanagan College council and the full membership of both councils has yet to be confirmed.


§         When the transition is complete, Okanagan College will have an independent president and board. 





            For more information on AchieveBC visit






Karen McDonald

Communications Director

Ministry of Advanced Education

250 952-6508

cell 250 888-9879


Visit the province's Web site at for online information and services.