Earlier this year the Ontario government announced that university and college tuition fees would be slashed by 10% ahead of the 2019/2020 school year.
That’s great news, though critics were cautious. Universities need money, and increasingly more of it. So where will it come from if not from those who can afford it the least?
The answer lies in a deliberate omission from Doug Ford’s plan: international students. While Canadian students can expect to save around $660 per year starting this fall, international students will not see a reduction in tuition. Furthermore, their fees will not be frozen.
A recent report by The Varsity reveals why this is significant: “Money from international students makes up 30 per cent of the [University of Toronto’s] revenue, above the 25 and 24 per cent that provincial grants and domestic tuition provide respectively.
If the past decade is any indication, the share of revenue generated by international students will continue to increase. According to the Varsity report, international students have seen their tuition rise by 128 per cent in the last 11 years.
If international student enrolment at Canadian universities continues to increase, as is expected, there shouldn’t be any need to cut grants in the face of reduced tuition for domestic tuition fees.
Unless we escalate our tensions with Huawei and China pulls its students out of Canadian class rooms, of course (Chinese students comprised 65 per cent of the U of T international undergraduate student population last year). Not like that hasn’t happened recently.