Frequently asked questions
Your questions, answered.
What is the U-PASS?
The Universal Bus Pass (U-PASS) is your bus pass that is applied onto your UBC Okanagan Student ID card and it allows you to have unlimited use of the transit system in the Kelowna and surrounding areas.
Is the U-PASS mandatory?
Yes, in September 2007, students voted to adopt the Universal Bus Pass (U-PASS) through a referendum and is a mandatory for Fall Semesters (September until December) as well as Winter Semesters (January until April) for all UBC Okanagan students who are members of the Students’ Union Okanagan (SUO) and are enrolled in at least one credit per semester.
Please note that due to the November 2015 U-PASS referendum passing, effective September 1, 2016 U-PASS fees are now $70 per Fall/Winter semester, less a 10% UBC Subsidy, which means a student will pay $63 per Fall and Winter semester.
Please note that the U-PASS is not mandatory for Summer Semesters, please see the section below titled “Can I use the U-PASS in the Summer”.
Can I get an exemption?
There are currently six eligibility criteria in order to be exempt from the U-PASS fee.
How long is the U-PASS valid for?
The Fall/Winter U-PASS is typically valid from September 1st until April 30th each year.
Please note that there is a grace period during September. Please show the driver your student id card.
Summer U-PASS is always opt-in and can be purchased between last week in April up until mid-July through the SUO paper & supply co. store.
How much does the U-PASS cost?
For both Winter terms, the U-PASS fee is automatically assessed on student’s account as part of your student fees. The U-PASS costs $70.00 per semester; however, UBC does provide a 10% subsidy, so students only pay $63.00 per semester.
Please note that the during Summer Term 1 and Term 2 are not automatically assessed as part of the Summer Student Fees. You can sign into your UBC SSC account and review your Financial Summary. Please see the “Can I use the U-PASS in the summer?” section below for more information.
Can I use the U-PASS in the summer?
If you were a registered student for the preceding January semester or if you are enrolled in either Summer semester, you are eligible to purchase a Summer U-PASS which is valid from May 1st until August 31st. Summer U-PASS can be purchased at the SUO paper and supply co store.
The Summer U-PASS cost is $63.00 and it is not included in Summer Tuition/Fees. You must bring your Student ID card with you.
In August, students may either purchase a one day transit pass or a sheet of ten tickets from the SUO paper and supply co store, or alternatively, pay the individual fare.
What if I lose my student card?
You will need to visit UBC Student Records and Financial Support (UNC214) and pay the replacement fee first, then bring your newly issued Student Card to our office (UNC133) for a replacement U-PASS.
When does the next bus arrive/leave?
Please check the BC Transit website for the current schedules and transit stop maps. You can also use the Trip Planner tool on the BC Transit website which will tell you when the next bus will arrive.
Smartphone apps such as Google Maps as well as Apple Maps also allow you to view the bus schedules by searching for “UBCO Transit Exchange Stop”, “Orchard Park Transit Exchange Stop”, or “Queensway Exchange Stop”, or if you have the “transit” setting turned on within the app, just by tapping on the individual transit stops.
Please note: transit service schedule changes during the summer-time. Primary routes such as the #97 Express and the #8 University/College frequency may be reduced over the summer. Some seasonal routes such as the #4 Pandosy Express, #6 Glenmore Express and #13 Quail Ridge may not operate over the summer. More frequent routes and transit service scheduling will resume in the Fall semester.
Can I lend my U-PASS to a friend?
No. The U-PASS is non-transferable, and only the authorized student can use that particular Student ID card.
Can I sell my U-PASS to a friend?
No. If a UBC Okanagan student was not assessed the U-PASS fee, please contact email@example.com and we can assist students.
When is the referendum?
The most recent U-PASS Referendum was held on November 4th and 5th 2015.
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How can I leave feedback?
We want to ensure you have a positive transit experience, please let BC Transit know about your experience by completing the BC Transit Feedback form.
Student Association FAQ
Where do I find information about Student Associations?
How do I apply to start a new Student Association?
To start a new Student Association, the first thing to ensure is that a similar Student Association does not already exist. You may also want to review the Student Association Handbook before submitting an application form to see what services are available. To review the Student Associations Regulations by which the Student Association is bound to follow, go to the Student Union Regulations at the following link. If you scroll down to the Table of Contents and click on the Student Association Regulations, it will take you directly to the pertinent pages. It is the responsibility of the executives of the Student Association to be aware of the rules and regulations they are required to follow and to ensure that if members are involved in event planning they are following the procedures outlined by the SUO and UBC. Please refer to these regularly, as they get updated as new regulations are ratified by the Board of Directors.
- Fill out a Student Association Registration Form.
- Do not use the letters “UBC” or “UBCO” in an email addresses, student association name, logos, domain names or social media handles. Student Associations are part of the SUO that is a separate entity from UBC. The club or course union will have events and meetings on the campus but is not an entity within the university.
- On page 1, you must provide a Student Association name, your aims and purposes, a minimum of 3 (three) executive members (your club leaders), and a general student association email address. Personal emails cannot be used for a Student Association.
- Working with a faculty advisor is optional. On page 2, add the names and signatures of the three signing authorities. Your signing authorities will oversee and approve the spending of student association funds and must also be executive members. You can have more than three executive members but no more or less than three signing authorities.
- On page 3&4, you will need to list at least 32 (thirty-two) student association members, not including the 3 primary executives.
- Submit your form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application will be reviewed by the VP Internal and the Membership Outreach Coordinator. If we have questions or want to set up an in-person interview, we will reach out to you. Once the Student Association is confirmed to not duplicate existing associations and has a purpose that can function within the Student Association Regulations, it is presented to the Board of Directors at a monthly Board of Directors meeting to be ratified. Please note Regulation 5 on page 55. We only accept new Student Association applications from September 1 to October 31 and January 1 to February 28.
Once the new Student Association is ratified by the Board of Directors, an email will be sent to the student association email address with information and a new student association funding form that must be returned within 10 days of the email date.
How do I submit receipts for a member to be reimbursed by our Student Association?
You will need to submit a completed Expense Reimbursement Form with supporting receipts or invoices to our Membership Outreach Coordinator. If the total on the receipt includes purchases not being reimbursed by the student association, please include an explanation. Receipts in foreign dollars will need a copy of the credit card statement showing the amount paid in Canadian dollars. Please block out personal information except the person’s name on the credit card statement before submitting.
Please ensure your form contains the following information:
- the name of the person/business the reimbursement is being made out to
- a personal email of the person/business being reimbursed to supply confidential banking information. DO NOT send banking information with the ERF to protect the person’s confidential information. Our Finance Manager will reach out to the individual to obtain and protect the information
- what the purchase was for
- the name of your Student Association
- the total amount being requested
- signatures from two of your signing authorities. A signing authority can not authorize their own reimbursement.
Once the form is complete, attach the receipt(s) totaling the requested amount, and submit it to the Students’ Union office at UNC 133. You can also email the form and receipts to the Membership Outreach Coordinator as a pdf. If emailed, the hardcopies of the form and receipts must be kept in a secure location for a minimum of one year. Reimbursements will be made by direct deposit to bank accounts at Canadian financial institutions.
If the amount being spent is larger than a member can personally take responsibility for, please contact the Membership Outreach Coordinator and you will receive assistance with an alternative payment method. Do not spend money for your Student Association from your personal account if it could result in a financially stressful situation. We do not want students to struggle financially while waiting for reimbursement. We ask for a minimum of 5 business days to have your reimbursement ready.
How does SUO funding for Student Associations work?
There are two annual funding request opportunities for Student Association, each takes place at the start of Term 1 and Term 2 semesters.
At the beginning of each funding period the SUO VP of Finance & Administration will email funding application details, forms and deadlines to all currently active Student Association. All funding applications that are for more than $2000 will be required to have a meeting with the VP to discuss the details of the application and purpose of the request. Our goal is to make sure that all of our Student Associations are being fiscally responsible with the funds that come from student fees.
Once the deadline for application submissions has passed the Ad Hoc Funding Committee will meet to review all the applications and make recommendations. The Ad Hoc Funding Committee is made up of the VP Finance & Administration, VP Internal, General Manager, Membership Outreach Coordinator and a Student at Large. Once all the applications are reviewed and processed, the recommendation is presented to the SUO Board of Directors at a board meeting to be ratified. Student Associations asking for more than $2,000 have to be ratified on an individual basis to the SUO Board of Directors.
Once the funding amounts are officially ratified, emails will be sent to each student association that submitted an application with the amount of SUO funding that they are receiving. The funds are deposited into each individual account within a week of the decision being ratified.
Keep in mind that SUO funding cannot be used to purchase any of the following:
- Capital purchases;
- alcohol and illegal substances;
- wages such as but not limited to staff expenses and honorariums;
- fundraising purposes such as but not limited to donations, activities, raffles or events that require a gaming license;
- direct contributions to external organizations activities, operations or fundraisers related to groups not registered under the SUO Student Associations policy;
- Off-campus events held without prior approval through the Off-Campus Event Application request form; and/or
- Events not Insured through the SUO.
Can a Student Association have an event with alcohol?
YES – Campus Security requires a minimum of 25 days notice prior to the event. It is recommended you review Policy SC9 – Serving and Consumption of Alcohol at University Facilities and Events.
- IF Scholars Catering is providing alcohol services, contact Scholars Catering to complete your catering order and obtain a BCEID (provided by Scholars Catering).
- IF you are using an off-campus caterer, obtain a Special Event Permit via the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch.
- IF you are using an off-campus caterer, you MUST display the following at your event:
- List of what is being served, including volume.
- Floor plan of the area that liquor is to be served and consumed in.
Can a Student Association have raffles for prizes at events?
Student Associations are not allowed to have a raffle or draw that would require them to procure a gambling license due to the stringent government reporting that would be required and the fines that are involved if not followed correctly. If it is a game of chance, that anyone can win – you need a gambling licence. Examples of this are random draws, raffle tickets, 50/50s, silent auctions, lotteries and games involving playing cards or dice. If it is a game of skill, then you do not need a license. Examples of this would be to guess the number of items in a jar, closest putt to the green, the best score in a bean bag toss, a trivia or mathematical question.
A game that needs a gaming licence has the three elements listed below. The contest has to be exempt from at least one of these three criteria.
Email the Membership Outreach Coordinator at email@example.com with any and all questions before carrying out any raffles or draws.
Does a Student Association have to renew each year?
Student Associations must renew every academic year to update current executive, signing authorities, membership and contact information. Renewal applications are accepted between July 1 and the Friday of the first week of classes. The purpose of the early deadline in September is so that we can assure that each active student association can attend our annual Orientation held every September to learn important information to have a successful year on campus and how the SUO can support each one to be active, creating well executed inclusive events and positively contributing to campus life.
If you miss the deadline in September, there is no need to worry. You have another opportunity to renew the Student Association during the first week of classes for Term 2. The deadline for this term is also the Friday of the first week of classes.
Where can our Student Association store items belonging to the club or course union?
The SUO has limited storage lockers of different sizes specifically for Student Associations.
If you have questions, reach out to our Membership Outreach Coordinator.
Health & Dental FAQ
How is the extended Health and Dental Plan different from MSP?
The Canadian model for health care is a mixed public/private system; approximately 30 to 40 per cent of normal annual health care expenses are covered through our public healthcare system. The balance is paid directly by individuals (out-of-pocket expenses) or through private health insurance plans, usually through an employer.
These costs can be extremely high and may pose a very real barrier to obtaining necessary health and dental care.
The SUO extended Health & Dental plan does not replace the British Columbia Medical Services Plan (MSP) or an equivalent plan (such as other provincial health care plans or a private basic plan). It offers you extra coverage in addition to basic medical covered by MSP. You must have basic medical coverage in order to be eligible to use the extended coverage provided through the SUO plan.
The SUO plan covers many other services that basic MSP does not, including dental benefits, private tutorial benefits, travel health coverage, and more.
For more information on the Medical Services Plan for British Columbia, you can visit the B.C. Medical Services Plan website
Students in good standing with the University, who are members of the SUO, and who are taking at least one course per term, are automatically enrolled in the SUO extended Health & Dental Plan.
To confirm that your are enrolled in the extended Health and Dental plan, contact StudentCare directly at 1-236-766-2652 and provide your UBC student id number.
Why doesn’t my card work?
Although coverage begins September 1st, there is a Fall blackout period (approximately Sept. 1 – Oct. 31), as student enrolment is being finalized.
Students who were covered by the plan up-to the end of the previous policy year are not affected by the Fall Blackout Period. You can still submit paper claim forms during this period.
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Your Plan includes the following health, dental, vision, and travel benefits:
- Up to 80% for prescription drugs (including most oral contraceptives)
- Up to 80% for vaccinations, up to $150 per calendar year
- $3,000 for health practitioners (psychologists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, etc…)
- $375 in vision care (eye exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses,laser eye surgery)
- $800 in dental care (checkups, cleanings, fillings, extractions, endodontics, periodontics, etc…)
- $5,000,000 in travel health coverage per incident and 120 days per trip
- $5,000 for trip interruption and $1,500 for trip cancellation in the event of a medical emergency
- Ambulances, dental accidents, medical equipment, and more!
Visit www.studentcare.ca for complete details.
How Can I Save More?
You can also further enhance your benefits by visiting health professionals who are members of the Dental, Vision, Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Massage Therapy Networks, and Mental Health Resources. You are covered for the insured portion regardless of the health professional you choose.
By consulting a Network member, you will get additional coverage. For example, by visiting a Dental Network member, you will receive an additional 20% off dental services, enabling you to get up to 100% coverage.
Visit www.studentcare.ca for complete details.
How Much Does It Cost?
The total cost of the Plan is $316.76 for students starting in September ($146.46 for health coverage and $170.30 for dental coverage). The policy year is from Sept. 1, 2023 – Aug. 31, 2024. For students beginning their studies in January, the cost of the Plan is $158.38 ($73.23 for health coverage and $85.15 for dental coverage) for coverage from Jan. 1 – Aug. 31, 2024. The cost of the plan is automatically included in your tuition and other fees.
Can I Change My Coverage?
If you are covered by another extended health and/or dental plan (i.e. parent’s or spouses employee plan, not B.C. M.S.P.), you can combine both plans to maximize your overall coverage and reduce or eliminate out-of-pocket costs.
Alternatively, if you have other equivalent coverage, you can opt out of the health portion, the dental portion, or the Plan in its entirety during the Change-of-Coverage Period from Aug. 21 2023 – Sept. 25, 2023 for students starting in September, or from Jan. 3 2024 – Jan. 24, 2024 for students starting in January. The fee will be reversed from your student account shortly after the end of the Change-of-Coverage Period. Please pay your tuition fees in full, to prevent any late penalty fees, reversed fees will automatically go towards future tuition and student fees.
If you are eligible, the Change-of-Coverage Period is also when you can enrol yourself, your spouse and/or dependent children in the Plan.
Should I register for Fair PharmaCare?
The B.C. government introduced Fair PharmaCare to replace the PharmaCare program and improve the health status of residents across the province.
The new income-based program is designed to provide fair access to coverage for prescription drugs — the lower your income, the more assistance the government will provide toward your eligible drug costs. For example, if your net income from two years ago was less than $15,000, and you have registered for Fair PharmaCare, you will have 70 percent of your eligible prescription drug costs covered immediately, with no deductible.
All permanent B.C. residents are eligible for Fair PharmaCare and all eligible SUO Plan members must register for the program.
How do I submit a claim?
Claim forms and procedures can be found online at www.studentcare.ca
What are the Studentcare Networks?
To offer students more comprehensive coverage, www.studentcare.ca has set up networks of health-care professionals.
These professionals offer an additional reduction over and above any amount covered by your students’ union extended Health & Dental Plan. There are dental, vision, physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic, mental health and psychology networks. We recommend you visit www.studentcare.ca for updated lists of network members and a detailed explanation of the reductions they offer.
What is a pay direct card?
A pay direct card is a wallet sized card that displays your Carrier and Policy Number. All you need to do is add your 8-digit student identification number in the boxes provided on the front of the card. This will allow your service provider to access your PBC account.
Where can I get my pay direct card?
How does my pay direct card save me time and money?
Your pay direct card allows your service provider to electronically bill PBC on your behalf. This means that you don’t have to go through the process of submitting a claim on your own after the fact. It makes your life much easier and saves you valuable time for your studies. It can also save you money as it can be easy to lose receipts and/or simply forget to submit them in the time frame required for reimbursement.
What happens if I lose my pay direct card?
Not to worry! If you lose your pay direct card, you can drop by our office and pick up another one or you can reprint another from the Studentcare website. If you find yourself at an appointment and realize your either lost of forgot your card, feel free to give us a call and we can provide the carrier and policy number to your service provider so they can make an electronic claim for you.
What happens if my service provider doesn’t do electronic billing?
No problem! You can set up an online account with PBC and submit a claim on your own behalf. All you need to do is follow the prompts and your claim will be submitted electronically without the need to mail in any supporting documentation.
Please note that you will first need to provide your banking information to PBC as all online claims are reimbursed by way of direct deposit. Just remember! It is important to keep all your receipts for a full academic year in case you are subject to an audit by PBC.
What happens if my claim can’t be submitted electronically?
From time to time, there will be the odd claim that will require you to manually submit your receipts. In this case, you will need to fill out a claim form, attach your receipts and mail the information to PBC.
Is there a Canada Post drop box anywhere on campus?
You will find a set of colourful red Canada Post drop boxes just outside between the EME building, and the Admin building, near BC Transit Bus Terminal A. Please be aware that we do not sell stamps on campus. Stamps can be purchased at most Shoppers Drug Mart locations as well as at Canada Post outlets.
What happens if I need assistance submitting a claim?
Please remember, you are always welcome to drop by our office anytime during office hours and we will be more than happy to help you with any questions you may have regarding your extended Health and Dental Plan, or any other SUO matters you may require assistance with, or call Studentcare at 1-236-766-2652.