“Cash Cows” or International Students?

London, ON, Canada / 106.9 The X

Here is a tuition account summary from an anonymous international student at Fanshawe College, he pays $24,280,47 for the past three semesters in total.

While all students in Canada have been struggling with dramatic tuition increase over the past decade, tuition for international students in this country has become even higher in recent years.

By fall 2012, the average tuition for international students is about $18,000, which is more than three times the tuition fees paid by domestic students. Some people think this high differential fees are unfair burden and a barrier for international students seeking further education in Canada.

Is it true?

Here are 4 questions and answers you might want to know before you make a conclusion.

  1. What creates the tuition difference between domestic students and international students?

When you Google international students tuition, you can get search results like “cash cows”. But are international students really cash cows for Canadian education institutions? Professor of Economics at Fanshawe College Darren Chapman says no and explains what really happens to international students’ tuition in Canada.

“What you (international students) are actually paying for is the full cost of your education and what Canadian students are paying for is a tuition portion of the full cost of their education. So Canadian students are actually paying a subsidized rate,” says Chapman.

He adds that he don’t think the differences are so significant that it could be disincentive for international students to get their education elsewhere.

  1. A better deal for international students?

The professor says that Canadian citizens pay taxes all their lifetime and that pays for part of their education expense and he thinks foreign students actually have a better deal.

“Actually when I look at it, I think foreign students have the better deal, because foreign students alone you pay let’s say $18,000 vs $6,000 for Canadian students. Foreign students owe Canada nothing after that $18,000 so you get the education and that’s it you pay for it. However, Canadian students who pay $6,000 but for the rest of their lives in taxes they will end up paying probably much more than $18,000,” says the professor.

  1. How’s Canada’s tuition for international students compared to other countries?

Actually among English-speaking destinations for international students, Canada has the lowest tuition fee. Professor Chapman says Canada is known for its openness and willingness to immigration and Canada wants to attract more international students to stay after graduate to let them contribute to this country’s economy.

“When we do compare our tuition to other areas of the world like United States, Britain and Australia, we are very competitive. Yes it appears to be high but what you get from that education is great value and in fact it is a much easier way come into Canada and become an immigrant once you got your education,” says the professor.

He adds, “in essence, think about that education tuition as a small price to pay for citizenship in this country.”

  1. What would happen to international students who choose to stay?

Some international students come back to their home country after finishing their education. But for another part of them, they are able to apply for work permit and contribute economically for the host country of their higher education, which is Canada.

Professor Chapman says, “I think one of the things that is really beneficial is that when students migrate away from being a student to an immigrant or decide to stay in Canada, they are going to have the same amount of political influence as Canadians presently have. As we have more and more international students come into Canada and stay then your political voice would become more and more powerful. ”

He adds most immigrants have come since the last 25 or 30 years and Canada has families come from all over the world in a relatively recent time, which adds a whole cosmopolitan look in education and life.


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