Published on June 01, 2021
Hiking Tuition Fees is Discouraging International Students to Make the Journey
Anukul Dash & Lucas Szpigiel
INTERNATIONAL students travel thousands of kilometers from their homes all the way to first-world countries in the grand pursuit of their life dreams. They must sacrifice a great deal both financially and emotionally to make their life dreams come true. To many students, their dreams are well worth the sacrifices, though their decision and pathway to success is not always an easy one to travel.
A substantial number of potential international students refrain from even applying to universities overseas due to the many obstacles they will face. However, the biggest obstacle to pursuing their higher education as an international student are the hiking tuition fees. Additionally, tuition fees are far more expensive for many students than it appears at first glance because of the high currency exchange rate. As for example, 1 USD dollar equals 74.90 Indian Rupee, 1 CAD dollar equals 56.43 Indian Rupee. Thusly, every dollar is in actuality far more expensive than it first appears.
International students are not allowed to work more than 20 hours per week. For instance, the Canadian Government has a prohibition to International students working more than 20 hours per week. Such a prohibition is challenging to overcome, and it makes it more difficult for students to afford a quality life, let alone help parents whom are paying tuition fees back home. This leaves these students in a dilemma on whether to compromise between their quality of life or education. With the increased Covid-19 devastation all over the world, such students are in essence helpless. The global pandemic has added another complexity and significant financial distress when international students begin to lose their jobs and their parents back home are struggling to help them as best as is possible. Additionally, many laid-off students are not eligible for any emergency response benefits from the Canadian Government.
Moreover, higher education of International students should be encouraged and supported. Even from a business and economic perspective they should not be discouraged to study overseas since they contribute a significant amount of money to the host countries. As cited in Policy Options ‘Many International students in Canada find themselves in a precarious situation. Pandemic-driven tuition hikes will only damage efforts to attract them.’ by Carlo Handy Charles, Veronica Overlid. ‘Canadian Government research estimates that International students contribute some $22-Billion annually to the Country’s economy’. However, by simply lowering the tuition fees to more reasonable levels such actions would inspire more students to come overseas for their education and professional development.
Furthermore, they are not entitled to take student loans, so many of students drop out of University every year due to very high tuition fees that create unnecessary challenges. They can get involved in breaking different laws like exceeding the 20 hour per week work limits. As for example, Global News recently reported a case in which an International student was arrested and was facing deportation for working too many hours.
More importantly, a global pandemic and its consequences cannot be evaded on human grounds. Covid-19 has shattered the economies of different countries including many of the developing countries like Bangladesh and India. Undeniably our third world countries have been severely affected by the global pandemic that continues to rage on in various forms and variants. The families of International students are no exceptions to these uncertain times and they are strongly affected as well. International student’s dreams and journey are now often displaced at this point in time, as families are suddenly and unexpectantly unable to help support their children’s studies abroad.
Nevertheless, if Universities keep increasing tuition fees for International students for economic reasons such a practice will be seen by many as just reinforcing the idea that Universities do not really care about them, but rather treat International students as a business product or commodity rather than a human being. Recently, on July 3rd, 2020, Canadian journalists Carlo Handy Charles and Veronica Overlid reported at Policy Option that ‘International students were paying fees nearly four times as high as those charged to domestic students, prompting the Canadian Federation of Students to state that International students were being utilized as ‘Cash Cows’ no less – merely a source of revenues.’
However, the Government of Canada is seen to be more compassionate about Canadian students than perhaps International students. Charles also mentioned that the insecure situation that International students are going through are largely due to such tuition hikes and during unprecedented time. They have reported that ‘the federal government has rolled out a $9-Billion-dollar aid package for Canadian students affected by the pandemic, but little or no support for International students. Not only has many International students been left out of these Government programs because of the restrictive eligibility criteria they are noted to encompass; some students are even being asked to pay even higher tuition fees during these uncertain pandemic times.
It is distressing to know that many International students have not registered for courses for the upcoming fall semester of 2020 and are going back home. They have been finding it simply too hard to make ends meet. As for example, Kay Matthew, ‘an International student at NBCC Moncton and single mother of two, did not earn enough last year to qualify for CERB.’ In addition to these considerations, it is most important for policy-makers and University administrators to clearly understand just how tuition increase of these natures will perpetuate International student’s precarious situations and uncertain futures. Furthermore, Academic Institutions should facilitate a thorough reconsideration of this situation of ever increasing tuition fees directed at International students in order to reduce the general socio-economic challenges that they may well be facing in a particular year.
Undoubtedly, higher tuition fees are currently debatable with everything being online; as for example lecture classes, discussions, assignments, examinations and so on. All of them being online raises the foundational question as to why should the tuition payment be higher for International students? It should rather be lower since International students are often not getting a quality environment or space for activities and studies. Another important reason that the Universities should consider taking less tuition fees from International students, as they would be saving the maintenance costs in association. One wonders where the University maintenance costs are going that are now not being spent as would be expected within these venues? All these questions make the purpose of higher tuition fees for International students really quite questionable and not that desirable at all when one looks at these matters more closely.
Without a doubt International students in the EU and UK are also suffering greatly due to the increasing and higher tuition fees. According to a Chinese reporter, Callan Quinn, who lately reported in the ‘Pie Network News’ that according to their survey creators study in the EU ‘such could easily mean a loss of 120,000 students, or 25% of all non-UK students form British universities at a time when many are already struggling financially due to the Covid-19 and they are thusly anticipating lower international student enrolments.’ This news is alarming to the economy and people of UK and EU overall.
In conclusion, it is unfair to charge four times the tuition fees for International students especially during this unprecedented time. Covid-19 has affected and provided uncertainty to everyone in the world. There are many International students who are going back home due to coming short of sky-rocketing tuition fees. The University administrators should know that they are not only sending these helpless students to their home countries, but they are hurting the dreams and souls of these students. Why would they do this is the question many are asking? Only because they are foreigners or do they simply not understand the consequences that such policies bring. Administrators should recognize that there is nothing more heart-breaking than a loss of hope and unfulfilled life dreams. Therefore, any University which responds to this continuing dilemma by decreasing tuition fees to more reasonable and workable levels for International students would clearly be setting an outstanding example in the journey of advancing learning. Such Academic Intuitions would be indubitably demonstrating beautiful compassions, exemplifying practices of empowerment, balance and understanding and through these considerations undeniably changing young lives for the better and for all within this amazing world of ours.
© Anukul Dash 2020
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. ‘Government of Canada.’ Work off Campus as an International Student’. Canada.ca, / Gouvernement Du Canada, September 24th. 2020. (www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/study-canada/work/work-off-campus.html).
- ‘International Student Arrested, Facing Deportation for Working Too Many Hours.’ Global News, Global News, May 18th, 2019.
- Carlo Handy Charles, Veronica Øverlid. Originally published on Policy Options July 3rd. ‘Tuition Hikes Exacerbating Existing Challenges for International Students.’ Policy Options, July 3rd, 2020. (policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/july-2020/tuition-hikes-exacerbating-existing-challenges-for-international-students/).
- News, The PIE. ‘84% EU Students Would ‘Definitely Not’ Pay International Tuition Fees to Study in UK’. RSS 20, July 3rd, 2020.
Elected Executive Committee of Youth Advisory Council 2021:
- Aannaffee Yash – President
- Kesha Patel – Vice President
- Shams Monour – Secretary
- Mostofa Faysal – Treasurer
Vice President of Youth Advisory Council 2021
Election of Youth Advisory Council 2021:
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The Manitobans for Human Rights Youth Advisory Council
The Youth Advisory is continuing to take on the task of coordinating the silent auction draw, as well as the 50/50 draw, at our Annual General Meeting taking place on June. 28, 2018.