International students at Ontario colleges are paying on average over 4x what locals pay, with no tuition freezes available
ONTARIO, Nov. 17, 2022 – Nine days into a campaign to highlight unfairness facing international students at Ontario colleges, a coalition of students is celebrating International Students Day (November 17th).
The date has origins in World War II, commemorating the bravery and memory of students in Prague who fought for their right to higher education when Czech universities were stormed by the Nazis in 1939. Today, International Students Day is a date post-secondary institutions use to celebrate their international students and as an observance for student activism.
“What we’re seeing in Ontario is a largely economic injustice, but we would be remiss to point out that systemic practices like this are rooted in xenophobia and racism,” said Conestoga Students Inc. President, Sana Banu.
Banu is speaking as a member of the Ontario College Student Associations for International Tuition Equity Coalition, as well as a former international student herself.
“I know firsthand the challenges of being an international student here in Ontario—from looking for housing, getting to know an unfamiliar city, and navigating it all without your community or network around for support. We need to remember the human side to international students and not simply look to them as a resource.”
“This isn’t a unique situation to Sana, as I hear many of the same sentiments from students too, and as a domestic student, I cannot imagine having these additional barriers added to the student experience,” said Centennial College Student Association President, Tima Shah.
“The financial dependency of Ontario’s public college system on international students is unsustainable, inequitable, and irresponsible. The exploitation of international students cannot continue.”
With the Ontario Auditor General’s report noting that the public college sector’s $1.22 billion (or 62% increase) in its accumulated surplus from 2016/17 to 2019/20 was largely due to international student growth, the Coalition is questioning the motives behind the costs to international students with it’s aptly named “Need or Greed” campaign.
Across the province, international students pay higher tuition than their domestic peers, who themselves pay high tuition fees relative to the rest of the country. According to Ontario’s Auditor General, international students enrolled in Ontario colleges pay $14,306 on average, compared to $3,228 per domestic student. Additionally, while making up only 30 per cent of the student body across the province’s 24 colleges, international students provide 68 per cent of tuition revenue. Their fees alone were worth $1.7-billion last year, more than colleges received in provincial grants.
The coalition is calling for an immediate tuition freeze for international students (which domestic students already received) and other measures.
For more information on #NeedOrGreed, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Coalition: Led by the Ontario College Student Associations for International Tuition Equity Coalition, #NeedOrGreed is comprised of provincial wide student associations including Cambrian Students Council, Centennial College Student Association Incorporated, Conestoga Students Inc., IGNITE, Mohawk Students’ Association, Sheridan Student Union, and more. This student association collective advocates for the interest of over 120,000 postsecondary students, of which over 50,000 are international.