For international students, studying in Canada is an opportunity to access education in a country that is consistently ranked one of the top countries for higher education globally. Unfortunately, Canada’s excellent reputation is being misused by governments and institutions to fill the gaps in post-secondary education funding with inflated and predatory tuition fees. The BCFS has published a new research document, International Education in British Columbia: Keeping the Post-secondary System Afloat, highlighting systemic underfunding and a lack of regulation of international tuition fee increases, which have led institutions to lean on international student tuition fees to make up for budget and funding shortfalls.
In BC and most of Canada, international tuition fees are unregulated and can increase at any time, with no notice. Domestic student tuition fee increases are capped at 2% annually under the BC government’s Tuition Fee Limit Policy. Meanwhile, tuition fees for international students in BC are not covered in this policy and have increased by 64% since 2006 and by 594% since 1991.
Paying More Than Their Fair Share
Due to government underfunding, institutions have come to depend on the revenue they receive from increasing fees for international students as a way of balancing their institution's budgets. However, unpredictable fees makes budgeting impossible for individuals and families, meaning some international students are forced to leave Canada before completing their studies. These figures illustrate that while international university students only account for one fifth of BC university enrolment, they contribute almost half of BC universities’ tuition fee revenue.
The Economic Benefit of International Students in Canada
Regulating international student fees is not just about keeping education affordable for all students, but also about recognizing the richness international students bring to BC society and protecting their economic contributions needed to build the BC of tomorrow. International students in post-secondary education pay significantly higher tuition fees than their domestic peers; in fact their fees generate a profit for each respective institution that is used to offset reduced public funding. Additionally, these students pay vast sums into the local economies across BC on such staples as housing, food, transportation, and entertainment.
Based on the latest calculations:
In 2017 alone, international students in BC
added $4.15 billion in spending,
created 31,400 jobs, and
contributed $2.37 billion to the provincial GDP.
Are you an International Student studying in Canada? We want to hear about your experience, and what sort of challenges you have faced.
Share your story anonymously and confidentially.
Do you like this page?
It’s Time for Fairness for International Students!
Join us in calling on the BC government to amend the Tuition Fee Limit Policy to include the regulation of fees for international students.
Do you like this page?