Big jump in number of international students
By Allison Buchan-Terrell
Canadian universities suddenly have a lot more international
flavour, as the number of international students enrolled this
year spiked, according to the January issue of University Affairs.
Published by the Association of Universities and Colleges
of Canada, the magazine reports that enrollment of foreign
students is up more than 15 per cent, with some provinces showing
20 per cent increases. The report estimated that several universities
had increases of 25 per cent compared to 2003.
The report attributes the increases to recruitment conducted
by universities abroad and the recognition of Canada as an
excellent place to study. Universities are actively recruiting
foreign students with help from the government of Canada, the
report stated. The AUCC also noted that the federal government
found foreign students spent about $4 billion in Canada in
Leo Charbonneau, media relations officer for the AUCC, said
most universities have been actively recruiting abroad in recent
years. “We feel that there is an advantage to having
foreign students on campus [which is] an enrichment for other
students,” he said, adding financial interests are not
the lead draw for universities, but rather a sincere effort
to add a dynamic and multicultural element to their school.
Foreign students pay the full cost of their education compared
with regular students who pay a lesser amount, Charbonneau
Foreign students are concerned with finances however, citing
lower tuition and living expenses as reasons for coming to
Canada to study, the report stated.
Rachel Crowe, interim program co-ordinator for the Student
Development Centre’s International Student Services,
said there has been a steady increase in foreign student enrollment
in the last five years. She also said she agreed with Charbonneau
that foreign students “enrich the learning experience.”
James MacLean, a member of Western’s institutional planning
and budgeting office, said the number of full time undergraduate
international students at Western this year is 876 out of a
population of 19,596, as opposed to 846 the previous year.
MacLean noted the increase at Western is not as dramatic as
compared to other Canadian institutions.
Charbonneau added a large part of the appeal for universities
is that international students act as “ambassadors” for
Canada when they return to their country.