Looking out for number one
As tuition continues to rise every year, there is a small, yet significant, group of students at universities who are often overlooked. International students pay, on average, almost double the tuition that domestic students fork over.
International students have a choice as to where they attend university. They choose Canadian schools for many different reasons, varying from better practical experience, higher standards of education, to greater job opportunities in North America.
International students add to our university campuses with their cultural vibrancy, and their presence is both welcome and important to the composition of our student bodies.
However, it is not unreasonable to charge higher fees to international students. Even if we lower tuition fees and keep our quota of international students the same, we are still placing some of their financial burden on tax payers.
The Canadian Federation of Students, a national educational lobby group, wants to lower fees to allow less financially privileged international students past our main gates.
According to CFS, financial aid is already hard to come by for the average international student, so why charge them more than double what their fellow students get nailed?
If we reduce tuition rates for international students, it would open the flood gates of applicants from lands far away further enhancing our universities' cultural make-up. We would also offer a greater opportunity for academically qualified international students who simply cannot afford a Canadian post-secondary education at its current price.
Great but where does that leave Canadian students?
If tuition costs are reduced, won't the competition for Canadian students rise? There are already a limited number of seats available for Ontario students in their home province, let alone students from other provinces. Limiting those seats even further will surely not help the academic standards of our country.
Completing an undergraduate degree in the United States as an international student can cost the same amount for one year as a full four-year program in Canada would cost. Americans limit the number of scholarships and bursaries available to international students in order to provide better opportunities for their own.
Quebec also charges higher tuition to out-of-province students. It seems entirely self-serving, but when you look at where our individual tax dollars are going, it only makes sense that the first priority should be a fellow Canadian who has already contributed large sums of money to the government.
At some point, you can't avoid looking out for number one.