International students paid up to $1.3b in tuition fees last year to Canadian universities
North American universities have discovered a new niche to increase their bottom line. Each university is autonomous and as a result can plan their programs to attract deep pocket sponsors of international students.
According to CBC news report, “The number of foreign students attending university in Ontario increased 88.5 per cent over six years, starting in 2010, according to figures provided by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development. During the same period, enrollment of domestic students grew just seven per cent. ”
The cash grabbing efforts increased because of the reduction in grants from the Canadian government to universities. The universities are there forced to pay attention to tuition fees as a source of revenue. However, it has always been the practice that domestic students pay less than 50% of the tuition fees that the international students pay. For example, an international student studying Biomedical engineering at Ryerson University will pay a tuition of $27,868.66 vs a domestic student fee of $11,681.26.
This gap has made study abroad as international student very unbearable unless if you have solid backing from a scholarship or family. Most international students are sponsored by wealthy government officials who have no issues paying as much as $50,000 per year to send their children to study abroad. This has caught the attention of most North American universities including USA universities.
The exorbitant international student fees are not limited to universities alone. Most Canadian elementary and secondary schools are now flooded with international students. According to Toronto district school board data shown below, international students can pay as much as $12,500 for elementary school per academic session and $14,000 for secondary school. These figures exclude room and board fees.
Unlike in Canada where the entire economy is operated on credit, the international students sponsors come with cash. Most of the parents of international students can pay up front of up to 4 year tuition fees which is near impossible in Canadian environment.
Now you are beginning to see the reason why Canadian universities and educational institutions are shopping for international students to bridge the funding gap from government.
Can the Canadian government step in to control these exploitation?.
CBC news reported that ‘Research by the federal government estimates the economic impact of international students in Canada at about $11 billion annually, with about $5.4 billion of that spent in Ontario”.
It will be near impossible to stop a legal flow of cash especially if it is building the economy and increasing the bottom line and therefore boosting the capability of the universities to be less reliant on government funding.