University Canada West (informally UCW) is a private, for-profit, educational institution in British Columbia, Canada. The university was founded in 2005 by David F. Strong, the former president of the University of Victoria, purchased in 2008 by the Eminata Group, and is currently owned by Global University Systems. The university is based in downtown Vancouver, and currently offers predominantly business and management related programs.
University Canada West was founded in Victoria, British Columbia in 2005 by David Strong, the former president of the University of Victoria. The establishment of the university marked the first time in British Columbia in which a for-profit institution had been authorized to use the designation "university," the result of the province's recently enacted, controverisal Degree Authorization Act. In 2008 the school opened a second campus in Victoria. That same year it was purchased by the Eminata Group. At the time of the sale, it was reported the school was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and struggling to attract students.
Faced with declining enrollment at its Victoria campus, in February 2010 the university shuttered the second site, giving prior students the option of transferring to another college or to its other campus. However, some students interviewed on CBC News said their preferred college was unwilling to transfer their units and they could not afford moving to the college's other campus.
In October 2012, "over 30 students, graduates, faculty and former teachers and employees interviewed by Hindustan Times have alleged that it is a university only in name, and that many of them were duped." At the time of publication, the university denied the allegations saying that it had many students who secured positions in industry and government, both in Canada and abroad.
In 2015, University Canada West was acquired by the Global University Systems group.
Early sited on the floor of an office building in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2014 University Canada West relocated to Vancouver's London Building.
The governance structure of UCW is composed of an academic council and a board of governance, in line with the bicameral system in place at many other Canadian universities. Under this structure, the board oversees the strategic direction of the university including fiduciary, legal and financial responsibility, while the academic council – which represents staff, faculty, students and alumni – presides over the university’s academic programs and policies.
Although UCW doesn’t receive public funds, the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education requires the institution to file audited financial statements. The institution also undergoes an annual quality review by the Degree Quality Assessment Board.
In September 2015, Brad O’Hara was appointed as Vice-President of Academic and Students. As of 2015, the board of governance is chaired by British academic Alfred Morris
The University is accredited by the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education, and carries the Education Quality Assurance (EQA) accreditation under the 2003 Degree Authorization Act. The University is also a member of the British Columbia Council on Admission & Transfer and is a Candidate for Accreditation with the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
Thirty per-cent of UCW students defaulted on their government-backed loans in 2009, compared against a default rate of 3.7% at the University of British Columbia and 4.7% at the University of Victoria. By 2010 that number had dropped to 20-percent, further improving to 16-percent by the end of 2012.
Scholarships at UCW are available to Canadian and international applicants for both undergraduate and graduate courses.