On Nov. 1, four rules were implemented to protect international students and improve education quality at Ontario’s private colleges.
According to Chris Bentley, minister of Training Colleges and Universities, “there are about 500 private colleges in the Ontario region, with approximately 38,000 students attending them.”
The new rules include governmental registration requirements, higher scholastic standards, and a training protection insurance fund, which ensures students can complete their program even if a college encounters financial problems.
“International students are particularly vulnerable because they don’t have roots in Ontario,” Bentley said. “They have no information about laws, nor do they know ways to seek protection and assistance. International students don’t have the same ability to assess the college before they choose it.”
Recently, a student from India arrived at Toronto’s Nordic College expecting a nice campus, a bustling student life and a decent library. Instead, they were shocked to find nothing more than a block of rooms above a Money Mart.
Mr. Rao Yendamuri, owner of the Nordic College of Business and Technology, dismissed the alleged problems.
“Not a lot of international students attend this college,” he said. “Of the ones that do, one to two per cent are unhappy. This college has been open for three years, and its brochures shows no pictures of our location.”
People are increasingly choosing to attend private colleges.
Mr. Richard Doerr, vice-president of London’s Westervelt College, said most students are satisfied with the college.
“People are choosing private colleges over public ones because the amount of schooling time is pushed into a full year with no summer break so that the degree can be completed at a faster pace,” he said.
“Older people are more attracted to this because it disrupts their lives less.”
Doerr added Westervelt College has roughly 600 new students per year and few are international.
“The majority of students come from about an hour away.”
“The Private Career Colleges Act will improve the quality of education students get, prevent them from the harms of false advertising and make it easier to get a refund if a college does not meet expectations,” Bentley said.
“I’m glad we were able to pass this legislation. Quality of education in all areas is important to us.”