January 9 , 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 55  

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Big jump in number of international students

By Allison Buchan-Terrell
Gazette Staff

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 2001.

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 said.

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.



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