Health insurance at UBC

Health insurance at UBC

Medical insurance and health coverage are important topics for all new students – whether you’re coming to UBC from another province or territory, or from across the globe. As a UBC student, you must have both basic and extended health insurance coverage over the course of your studies. Here’s a quick look at what steps you need to take (if any).

How do I get basic health insurance?

Basic health insurance will vary from student to student. You may have one or a combination of out-of-province health insurance, the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP), or iMED.

BC students

If you’re a resident of BC and currently covered by MSP, no action is required on your part.

Out-of-province students

If you’re a Canadian student with a health plan in another province or territory, you do not need to switch to BC MSP. You’ll be covered by the health plan in your home province or territory as long as you remain a student. If you choose to switch to MSP, you’ll need to apply and pay monthly premiums.

Canadian students coming from abroad

If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada returning to Canada after living abroad, you may already have health coverage in BC or another Canadian province or territory. If you don’t, you’ll need to apply for MSP and make arrangements to join the Global Campus Health Plan or another temporary insurance plan for the three-month period before your MSP coverage takes effect.

International students

Canada has a public health care system. Everyone living in BC for longer than six months is required to join MSP, a basic health insurance policy for the province’s residents. If you’re an international student, you’ll need to apply for MSP as soon as you arrive in BC. During the three-month period before your MSP coverage takes effect, you’ll be covered by a required temporary health insurance plan called iMED.

If you have questions about health care or coverage in Canada, please contact an international student advisor on the Okanagan or Vancouver campus.

How do I get extended health insurance?

As a UBC student, you will be automatically enrolled in the extended health and dental plan offered by the UBC Students’ Union Okanagan (UBCSUO) on the Okanagan campus or the Alma Mater Society/Graduate Student Society (AMS/GSS) on the Vancouver campus when you register for courses. Your health and dental plan fees will appear alongside your tuition and student fees in your Student Service Centre account.

This extended health and dental plan through UBC works alongside your basic health insurance plan. For details on your coverage, or how to opt out if you already have equivalent coverage, please visit the Studentcare website.

What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

If you’re being treated for a medical condition, consult your health care professional to make sure you’re well enough to take on the challenge of university. If you’re well enough to attend UBC, you’ll need to plan for treatment during your studies.

Find out if the treatment you need is available at UBC or nearby, how much it costs, and whether it will be covered under your basic and/or extended health insurance. The Health and Wellness Centre on the Okanagan campus and Student Health Service on the Vancouver campus offer on-campus medical clinics that are free for all UBC students.

What if I have a documented disability?

If you have a documented disability and require disability-related accommodation or academic support, please contact an advisor at the Disability Resource Centre on the Okanagan campus or Access and Diversity on the Vancouver campus to discuss your eligibility.

First-year English requirements

First-year English requirements

As a UBC student, you’re expected to have excellent reading, writing, and speaking skills in English – regardless of your first language or citizenship. To ensure you develop those skills, all UBC undergraduate students are required to earn between 3 and 6 credits of first-year English.

Is this the same thing as the English Language Admission Standard?

No, they’re two different things. The English Language Admission Standard (ELAS) is an admissions requirement that you had to meet before being admitted to UBC. Your faculty’s first-year English requirements are something you need to meet now that you’re a UBC student.

What are my first-year English requirements?

To check how many English credits you must complete and which English courses will fulfill your degree requirements, please refer to the undergraduate degree requirements for your faculty on the Okanagan or Vancouver campus.

What is the first-year English course entry requirement?

To stay enrolled in your first-year English courses, you must meet the first-year English course entry requirement on the Okanagan or Vancouver campus. One way to do this is by writing the Language Proficiency Index (LPI) test, an exam that assists UBC in determining your competency in writing at a university level.

Do I have to write the LPI test?

Review your options for meeting the first-year English course entry requirement on the Okanagan or Vancouver campus. Please note that the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) do not exempt you from the LPI test. If you do need to write the LPI test, you can register online.

Bachelor of Arts students on the Vancouver campus: You do not need to write the LPI test. To review the courses that fulfill your writing requirement, please refer to “Meeting the Faculty of Arts Writing Requirement with English courses” on the For students in the Faculty of Arts page.

UBC Collegia: A home away from home on campus

UBC Collegia: A home away from home on campus

Whether you’re facing a long commute or a taking a quick bus ride to UBC, feeling like part of the university community can be challenging if you don’t have a home base on campus. UBC Collegia are spaces where commuter students can fully experience life at UBC.


Okanagan campus

Each Collegium on the Okanagan campus has comfortable furniture, dedicated workspaces, and a kitchen to make you feel right at home.

 

There are three different Collegia spaces on the Okanagan campus where you can relax, eat lunch, do schoolwork, or spend time with friends between classes. Each Collegium is staffed by senior students who can answer your questions, refer you to campus resources, and help plan activities and events. 

First and Second Year Collegium

Also known as the Junior Collegium, this space is the perfect place for new-to-UBC students to find community on campus. Come here to meet other students from your program – or cross paths with people from completely different faculties.

Upper Levels Collegium

Also known as the Senior Collegium, this space is traditionally a quieter spot for students to study, work on group projects, or unwind. Come here to enjoy a peaceful coffee break or get a head start on your assignments.

Global Collegium

You don’t need to be an international student to visit the Global Collegium. If you’re interested in discovering new cultures and sharing your own, you’re welcome here – no passport required! Come here to meet UBC students from across Canada and around the world.

What students are saying

“Working in a Collegium allowed me to meet so many students and make friends that I may not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. It’s a great resource for students to feel like part of a community.”

– Collegia assistant, Biology, Okanagan campus

How to get involved

No registration or membership is required to use the Collegia on the Okanagan campus. If you’re interested, stop by for a visit.

Learn more about UBC Collegia on the Okanagan campus


Vancouver campus

UBC Collegia spaces on the Vancouver campus offer plenty of space for you to kick back and relax.

 

If you’ll be commuting to campus, you’re part of the majority: more than 75% of students on UBC’s Vancouver campus bike, drive, or take transit to campus. You may be wondering where you’ll be able to warm up your lunch, relax between classes, or meet people.

UBC Collegia on the Vancouver campus provide all of this and more. Each space has a kitchen, comfy couches, and friendly advisors who are happy to chat and help you settle into life at UBC. There are also lots of activities designed to connect you with on-campus services, faculty members, and peer support.

What students are saying

“I always feel welcome when I visit Collegia, which is almost every day. It is an amazing place just to take a break from a hectic school day or to just visit and socialize.”

– Collegia member, first-year Arts, Vancouver campus

 

“UBC Collegia was a space where I could catch up with friends during the day and study in the evenings. I got a good head start on getting involved, learning about the resources on campus, and getting myself to delve out of my comfort zone. Overall, I definitely feel more equipped to venture off to second year with the start UBC Collegia provided.”

– Collegia member, first-year Science, Vancouver campus

How to get involved

There’s no cost to join UBC Collegia, but spaces are limited. If you’re a first-year commuter student on UBC’s Vancouver campus and you’re interested in Collegia, let us know.

Express your interest in UBC Collegia on the Vancouver campus

Financial planning and student loans

Financial planning and student loans

University is an investment – there’s no doubt about it. The cost of tuition, books, residence fees or rent, food, monthly bills, clothing, and entertainment can add up quickly, so having a plan for financing your education is essential. Student loans and bursaries are two options you may want to consider.

Student loans

If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, you may be eligible for a student loan. Student loans offer two big advantages. First, the government will pay the interest on your loan as long as you’re a full-time student. Second, you’re not required to begin repaying your loan until six months after you graduate (or you cease to become a full-time student). If you’re a BC student, apply for a loan online through StudentAidBC. If you’re coming from another province or territory, apply through your provincial or territorial lender.

If you’re a US citizen, you’re eligible to apply for a direct loan (direct subsidized and/or direct unsubsidized loan). It can take a while for loan applications to be processed, so we recommend applying at least six weeks before the term starts to ensure funding is available in time.

Bursaries

If you’re a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or refugee, and you have unmet financial need even after applying for a student loan, you may be eligible for a UBC bursary. If you’re interested in a bursary, we recommend submitting a student loan application by July 15 to ensure that your student loan is confirmed by the bursary application deadline of September 15.

Questions?

If you have questions about financial planning or financial aid opportunities, UBC can help.

Okanagan campus

Contact Student Services and Financial Support at sis.ubco@ubc.ca or +1.250.807.9100

Vancouver campus

Contact your Enrolment Services Professional (ESP)

Never too early for a campus tour

Never too early for a campus tour

Heading into your final year of high school in September? Now’s a good time to start thinking about which universities you’d like to apply to for admission in 2019. Visiting campus is the best way to see if you can picture yourself at any university, including UBC.

How we do campus tours at UBC

All of our campus tours are led by our friendly (and knowledgeable!) student ambassadors – actual UBC students who are currently studying at the University and eager to show you around the Okanagan or Vancouver campus. They’ll take you to some of their favourite spots to learn, study, work up a sweat, and relax between classes. Best of all, you’ll get to see it all through the eyes of someone with firsthand experience of UBC life.

Three tips to make the most of your tour

  1. Dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. Your walking tour will last approximately 90 minutes on the Okanagan campus or 2 hours on the Vancouver campus – and you’ll spend much of that time outside.
  2. Bring your family. Choosing a university is a big decision and significant financial commitment. If you fall in love with UBC, you’ll want your family on board too.
  3. Ask questions! During the tour, your student ambassador guide can tell you more about student life, and campus events and activities. After the tour ends, a UBC advisor will be available to answer questions about undergraduate programs, admissions, finances, and scholarships and awards.

Ready to come for a visit?

Sign up for a campus tour online

Five reasons to register for Jump Start

Five reasons to register for Jump Start

Transitioning to university life can be challenging – especially if you’re moving to a new city, coming from a different country or culture, or both. Jump Start is a week-long orientation program, from August 25 to 31, designed to introduce you to your campus, your faculty, and other first-year students.

It’s the best way to start life at UBC – but don’t take our word for it. We asked students on both UBC campuses about their Jump Start experiences and here’s what they had to say.

1. You’ll get to know your way around UBC.

“Attending the Jump Start program was a fantastic decision. Not only did I meet new people, I became more comfortable with the transition of moving away from home.”

“You’ll know how to move around campus and Vancouver.” [Or Kelowna, if you’re on UBC’s Okanagan campus!]

2. You’ll get answers to your questions from current UBC students.

“The orientation leaders provide the benefit of their experiences and are able to understand your concerns as a first-year student.”

“The student leaders are a meaningful resource and you can discuss anything and everything with them.”

3. You’ll feel more prepared for the start of the school year.

“Jump Start prepared me for the biggest change in my life, giving me the confidence I needed to emotionally succeed in this experience.”

4. You’ll get a taste of just how diverse the UBC community really is.

“You will meet people from all over the world.”

5. You’ll start making friends before classes even begin.

“Jumpstart enabled me to form long-lasting friendships and made me feel like a part of the UBC community.”

“You’ll get to know the people in your program as well as some of your professors.”

For even more reasons to attend Jump Start, check out the UBCfyi Blog.

Ready to register?

Register for Jump Start on the Okanagan campus by July 31.

Register for Jump Start on the Vancouver campus by July 5.

All the ways you can pay your UBC fees

All the ways you can pay your UBC fees

Once you’ve accepted your offer of admission, there are many different ways to pay your tuition, student fees, and residence and meal plan fees. The payment options available will depend on the specific type of fee you’re paying, which campus you’re attending, and where you are in the world.

If you’re a Canadian student

Your payment options include:

  • Electronic funds transfer (EFT) from any Canadian financial institution
  • Online or telephone banking bill payment from any Canadian financial institution
  • Interac® Online from Canadian accounts at select financial institutions
  • Online credit card payment (a 1.75% convenience fee applies for certain payments)
  • Cash or cheque at any HSBC branch

Did you know?

If you’re a Canadian student on UBC’s Vancouver campus, you also have the option of applying your TD and Aeroplan loyalty points toward your tuition and fees through the HigherEdPoints program.

If you’re an international student

As of May 30, 2018, UBC will no longer accept wire transfers, but several other payment options are still available:

  • International funds transfer (IFT) with Western Union Business Solutions
  • Online credit card payment (a 1.75% convenience fee applies for certain payments)
  • Cash or cheque at any HSBC branch
  • US dollar cheques, delivered in person (Vancouver campus only)

Did you know?

If you’re an international student, UBC’s international funds transfer option with Western Union Business Solutions lets you pay in your home currency, secure a competitive exchange rate for up to 72 hours, and avoid additional transaction fees – no Canadian bank account required.

Step-by-step instructions

Get step-by-step instructions and important tips for your payment method(s) of choice.

Okanagan campus

Vancouver campus

Need help?

If you have questions about paying your tuition or fees:

If you have questions about international funds transfer, contact Western Union Business Solutions directly at studentinquiries@westernunion.com or toll-free at +1.877.218.8829.

Post-secondary transfer applications

Post-secondary transfer applications

Did you know that you can apply to study at UBC even if you’ve already begun your studies at another post-secondary institution? Every year, the University receives and reviews more than 9,000 post-secondary transfer applications from students in Canada and elsewhere around the world.

Application assessments

If you’re a transfer applicant, the first thing we review is your interim transcript, which we typically receive in February or March. The majority of transfer applications are reviewed again when we receive final college/university transcripts in May.

Offers of admission

Admission decisions are posted on the Student Service Centre throughout May and June. Keep an eye on your Applicant Status for the most up-to-date information. If you received an early offer of admission, you’ll still need to send us your final transcript so we can confirm your offer and assign transfer credit (if you’re eligible).

Transfer credit

Once we’ve reviewed your final transcript, we’ll determine if you’re eligible to receive any transfer credit. Any transfer credits granted will be posted on the Student Service Centre under Grades & Records. If you have questions about your post-secondary transfer application or transfer credits, contact us.