According to Statistics Canada, international undergraduate students will pay 429 per cent more in tuition than domestic students in 2023. Postgraduate international students will also pay 184 per cent more for their studies than their domestic peers.
The Canadian Federation of Students’ factsheet on international student tuition fees notes the increases are differential fees that post-secondary institutions use to generate income because of inadequate funding from provincial governments. Private post-secondary schools view international students as a low-risk revenue source.
Canadian Universities: Resources and Support
With non-Canadian students at a clear disadvantage regarding schooling costs, exploring other available resources and supports is essential to balance school and work life. While biting the bullet on tuition spending is usually unavoidable, many Canadian universities provide financial help and support for international students.
Many universities develop programs and service centres to help new international graduates integrate into the Canadian society and compete favourably in the job market with domestic graduates.
One of Ontario’s popular schools, the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), formerly known as Ryerson University, addresses these problems in several ways.
Irina Vukosavic, Public Relations and Communications Specialist at TMU, shares a long list of support and resources reserved for undergraduate and postgraduate international students with Immigrant Muse. Although many are financial support, some are awarded based on academic merits, while others are to set international students up for success in the job market.
“There’s the Emergency Bursary for International Students, which is a one-time-only, non-repayable award based on financial need due to an emergency,” Vukosavic says. “There is also the Salad King International Student Awards, which recognize international student leadership during their time at TMU; and the Scotiabank Scholarship, awarded to upper-year full-time undergraduate international students with a strong academic achievement.”
Vukosavic also elaborates on resources that help graduates solidify their place in Canada’s job market after graduation. “Students can always access the TMU Career, Co-Op and Student Success resources for guidance on the Canadian workforce and career development. For international students wishing to pursue permanent residence after graduation, qualifying work experience is an important factor to their eligibility,” she says.
But Ontario isn’t the only province that understands the importance of providing international students with impactful financial support and personal growth resources.
To help students and graduates navigate academic and cultural differences and address the unfamiliarity newcomers face, the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) continues to amplify its academic and career support resources for international students.
The University of Alberta (U of A) also strives to prepare soon-to-be graduates for success. Their International Work Experience Program (ISWEP) funds university departments and off-campus employers who provide valuable summer job experience to international students. The ISWEP is solely for newcomers, so there is no competition with domestic students.
Like TMU, The U of A also has an Emergency Bursaries and Loans department for international students needing immediate financial help. Several Canadian universities also offer these loans, including the University of Manitoba, Western University in London, Ontario and the Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Another funding option for foreign students EduCanada’s scholarships for students planning to study in Canada. The scholarship provides between $10,200 and $12,700. The funds can be used towards living expenses, study and work visa fees, health insurance, transportation and more.
Will University Fees for International Students Change?
Systems in place support international students attending accredited Canadian universities. But is the country doing enough?
According to Financial Information of Universities from Statistics Canada, Canada is falling behind on funding the schools that will shape the nation’s future, making it unlikely that widespread tuition decreases will happen soon. The data shows that Canadian universities are becoming more reliant on international students. More specifically, provincial funding declined from 41.5 per cent to 32.5 per cent between 2011 and 2021, and Canadian universities collected approximately 37 per cent of all tuition fees from international students in 2020.
Nonetheless, individual provinces sometimes have the power to make a change. Towards the beginning of 2022, Quebec released a plan to slash tuition fees for some international students, depending on their field of study. Will other provinces follow suit?