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Tuition deferrals possible for Russian UBC students impacted by sanctions

The University of British Columbia campus is seen in this aerial shot. (UBC) The University of British Columbia campus is seen in this aerial shot. (UBC)

The University of British Columbia is encouraging international students from Russia to reach out for help if the sanctions imposed in response to their home country's invasion of Ukraine have left them financially vulnerable.

UBC spokesperson Matthew Ramsey told CTV News the university has a number of supports available for students in need, including tuition deferrals and emergency bursaries, whether they are from Russia or anywhere else.

"If you happen to be a Russian student having issues with financial support, speak to your enrolment services provider," he said Friday. "That's what they're there for. They're there to help."

There are about 160 Russian students enrolled at UBC this year, plus about 60 from Ukraine and four from Belarus, according to the university.

Ramsey said watching the attack on Ukraine unfold has had an impact on the campus community as a whole, but particularly on those with close ties to the countries involved.

"We know that this is a tough time for them," he said. "We want to be there to help however we can."

Western nations have imposed punishing sanctions on Russia in an effort to isolate the country's economy and pressure President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his troops and end the invasion. The measures imposed so far include blocking some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system.

Ramsey said some Russian students have already come forward to report financial difficulties in light of the sanctions, but could not provide a specific number.

"We don't have an accurate number but we'd assume it's very small," he said. "It's up to the student to disclose why they're asking for assistance."

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