Low loonie: International students eye 'reduced price' education in Canada

TORONTO -- Hundreds of thousands of international students flock to Canadian universities each year. But prospective students from the U.S.

See Full Article

may find Canadian schools even more enticing this year thanks to the low loonie.

That's good news for Canada's universities and local economies, but it could make it more difficult for Canadian applicants to get acceptance letters from some schools.

"A lower Canadian dollar does mean (some international students) can get a university education that's among the world's best at a reduced price," said Richard Levin, the University of Toronto's executive director of enrolment services and university registrar.

This year, international students paid, on average, nearly $22,000 in tuition, according to Statistics Canada.

The currency's downward spiral has left the loonie hovering near the 70 cent US mark. If the loonie doesn't budge much, undergrads paying with U.S. dollars would pay, on average, about US$15,000 -- or roughly US$7,000 less than when the loonie is on par with their currency.

That's a bargain for those from the U.S., where the average tuition this academic year at a public four-year college was US$9,410 for in-state students and US$23,893 for out-of-state, according to the College Board.

The discount will likely lure more international students to Canada for the next academic year, especially since it's already considered more affordable than other top English-language destinations, said Jacquelyn Hoult, the director of communications for The Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE).

Though that won't be certain until enrolment numbers are in later this year, Levin said when the exchange rate is low, U of T receives more calls from American parents and prospective students wondering if the school charges fees in Canadian dollars.

Already, more Americans than usual are applying to Montreal's McGill University for next year, said Kathleen Massey, the university registrar. She attributes the 13 per cent increase to the favourable exchange rate.

"I think the lower dollar certainly makes education more affordable for many students," said Karen McKellin, the University of British Columbia's executive director of its international student initiative.

Each of these universities sets targets for how many international students they want to attract, and the number of them coming to Canada has been on the rise for years.

In 2014, more than 336,000 international students attended Canadian schools, according to the most recent numbers from the CBIE. By 2022, the government wants to boost that number to more than 450,000.

Students from abroad help foster a cosmopolitan learning environment that benefits all students, university representatives say.

But there's no question: they also offer a financial incentive.

Full-time undergraduate international students paid an average of $21,932 in tuition this academic year, according to Statistics Canada. That's nearly $16,000 more than their Canadian counterparts. Full-time international graduate students, on the other hand, paid on average nearly $8,000 more.

The Canadian Federation of Students has repeatedly accused post-secondary institutions of exploiting international students to replace lost government funding and generate revenue.

U of T's Levin said the steeper tuition for these students is partly to cover a lack of government funding for students from abroad and to fund extra support programs for them.

McGill's Massey, meantime, said universities in Quebec do not benefit much financially from international student tuition fees. UBC guarantees returning international students their tuition won't increase more than five per cent each year, said McKellin.

International students also boost local economies.

In 2012, when Canada hosted 265,000 students from abroad, they spent about $8.4 billion (including tuition) and generated more than $455 million in tax revenue, according to a federal report on Canada's international education strategy. Their activities helped sustain about 86,000 jobs, the report reads.

But for all the positive benefits, it could also mean tougher competition for post-secondary spaces for Canadian students.

At McGill, for example, there are no hard targets for how many international students are admitted, said Massey -- only for how many students in total the school is able to accept.

Roughly half of the school's student population is from Quebec while the remainder is split between Canadian students from other provinces and territories and international students, she said. But those numbers can vary from one year to the next.

"We're looking for the academically strongest students from across the world," she said. "So if there are excellent students from the U.S., we would love to see them admitted to McGill, provided that we have space."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Michigan, Flint to replace 18,000 lead-tainted water lines

    World News CTV News
    DETROIT - Michigan and the city of Flint agreed Monday to replace thousands of home water lines under a sweeping deal to settle a lawsuit by residents over lead-contaminated water in the struggling community. Flint will replace at least 18,000 lead or galvanized-steel water lines by 2020, and the state will pick up the bill with state and federal money, according to the settlement filed in federal court. Source
  • Son of Oklahoma homeowner kills 3 burglars

    World News CTV News
    BROKEN ARROW, Okla. - Oklahoma authorities say three would-be burglars have been fatally shot by a homeowner's son who was armed with a rifle. The Wagoner County Sheriff's Office received a call around 12:30 p.m. Source
  • Mohammad Shafia, convicted in so-called honour killings, ordered to pay wife's legal fees

    Canada News CBC News
    A man convicted of killing his three daughters and former wife in a so-called honour killing has been ordered to pay legal fees for one of his co-accused in the crime. A judge in Kingston, Ont. Source
  • Racist sword killer says he'd mulled racial attack for years

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK - A white racist accused of fatally stabbing a 66-year-old stranger on a Manhattan street because he was black says he'd intended it as "a practice run" in a mission to deter interracial relationships. Source
  • UN begins nuclear ban talks but U.S., Russia and China boycott

    World News CTV News
    UN talks aimed at banning nuclear weapons began Monday, but the United States, Russia, China and other nuclear-armed nations are sitting out a discussion they see as impractical. Supporters of the potential pact say it's time to push harder toward eliminating atomic weapons than nations have been doing through the nearly 50-year-old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Source
  • 'A perilous pipeline': Indigenous groups line up against Keystone XL

    Canada News CBC News
    Indigenous groups on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border are speaking up about the Keystone XL pipeline, which has recently been given a green light by the Trump administration.Keystone XL pipeline gets OK from U.S. State DepartmentThe 2,735-kilometre pipeline project by Calgary-based TransCanada would carry roughly 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast, passing through Indigenous territories in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and…
  • More than 1,000 arrested in protests against Belarusian President Lukashenko

    World News CBC News
    More than 1,000 people have been arrested in Belarus after weekend protests against the country's authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko, according to human rights group Vesna. The group said roughly 150 protestors had already been sentenced to jail terms of up to 25 days. Source
  • Rachel Notley, Brad Wall trade more jabs over budget philosophy

    Canada News CBC News
    Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall continue to take jabs at one another over their provincial budgets. Notley's government tabled a budget this month that relies on economic growth to reach balance in six years, while Wall's budget boosts the provincial sales tax and cuts spending with the aim of doing it in three. Source
  • 'Unprecedented' dinosaur tracks found in Australia's Jurassic Park

    World News CBC News
    Paleontologists have uncovered what they are calling an "unprecedented" number of dinosaur tracks in Australia. In all, 21 different types were found along a 25-kilometre stretch of rock on the Dampier Peninsula in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Source
  • Murder case against U.S. Border Patrol agent to move forward

    World News CTV News
    TUCSON, Ariz. -- The second-degree murder case against a Border Patrol agent accused of killing a Mexican teen in a cross-border shooting will move forward after a federal judge denied a motion to dismiss the charge. Source