Canadian College Opposes International Student Cap as Housing Solution

Canada North America International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Oct 16, 2023

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Charlottetown’s Holland College in Canada has opposed the idea of potentially limiting the number of international students in the country as a way to solve the housing crisis.

Holland College president Sandy MacDonald told CBC News that the cap is not the answer to easing housing pressures, adding that the international student body at the institution has more than doubled in the past eight years.

He said international students pay higher fees at the college than local students, which results in a financial gain for the institution.

“It enables us to provide almost 65 programs to our students because without some of the international students … we’d probably be able to offer 50 or 45 programs,” MacDonald told CBC News in an interview.

According to Statistics Canada, an international student paid $36,123 in tuition during the last academic year, while a domestic student paid $6,834 on average.

The idea of limiting the number of international students in Canada was first proposed by Canadian Housing Minister Sean Fraser in August, who said it is one of the options the government should consider.

Amid the discussion, Universities Canada expressed concerns, saying such a limit is unnecessary as international students enrich Canadian campuses and are important for the labor market.

The plan was also opposed by some experts and advocates, who said that international students should not be blamed for the housing crisis in the country because they are, in fact, themselves affected by the situation.

According to MacDonald, it should be up to colleges and universities to decide whether to reduce international student enrollment.

In a response to Erudera, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said in a statement that it is aware of the pressure that international education is facing and that it will reassess the program.

“The Department is undertaking a review of the program to examine how it can better select and retain students while ensuring that they are well-supported while in Canada,” IRCC said.

In 2022, Canada had more than 800,000 international students, a record number and an increase of 75 percent compared to five years ago. Reports show international students contribute over $22.3 billion annually to the Canadian economy.

As of August, the average home price in Canada was about C$750,000, up 360 percent from the 2000s. Back then, the price stood at C$163,000.

>> Canada’s Provinces Oppose Proposal to Cap Int'l Student Numbers Amid Housing Crisis

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