UFV campus in Abbotsford.

UFV bans cash after accepting 17 payments over $10k last year

Ban on cash payments follows report warning of potential money laundering through universities

The days of walking into the University of the Fraser Valley with a bagful of cash to pay for tuition are over.

UFV has scrapped cash payments for tuition after the province asked all post-secondary institutions to stop accepting large cash payments in the wake of concerns about money laundering around the province.

Peter German’s second money laundering report earlier this year reported that some students were known to pay tuition fees in cash, and then withdraw from courses and receive a cheque for reimbursement. After the release of the report, the province recommended that universities ban large cash payments and review their policies.

RELATED: Eleven people paid a $10,000-plus Abbotsford tax bill in cash last year

UFV’s decision to scrap cash payments for tuition and fees is a result of those recommendations. But Dave Pinton, the university’s director of communications, stressed that there was no indication that more than a dozen huge cash payments received by UFV in the last fiscal year were connected to money laundering. A review into the university’s cash policies “did not speculate” on the causes of the large cash payments, Pinton wrote in an email.

He said that “eliminating cash supports the safety and security of students’ payments” and that payments routed through banks and credit card companies, “are secure and can be documented through the Canadian financial system.”

UFV received 17 cash payments exceeding $10,000 in 2018/19, Pinton said.

Those payments account for a tiny percentage of all cash payments the university received, he added. Most students already use some method other than cash.

Many organizations must report cash payments over $10,000 to FINTRAC, the federal anti-laundering agency in charge of preventing money laundering.

But attorney general David Eby noted earlier this year that such payments to universities aren’t tracked and could be considered a “black hole.”

Some universities have long banned cash payments. UBC has not accepted cash payments for tuition for more than a decade.

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