Camosun College has not yet seen growing interest from students south of the border following the election of President Donald Trump, but one official does not discount the possibility that his election will send more students north.
“Camosun College is not currently seeing stronger interest from students in the United States to attend our programs,” said Christiaan Bernard, director of Camosun International. “However, this may change with all of the negativity surrounding the current U.S. political situation.”
Bernard made these comments in light of published reports that show post-secondary schools across Canada have reported surging applications and interest from the United States.
While some of this spiking interest reflects stepped-up recruitment efforts by Canadian post-secondary institutions to attract more foreign students in light of demographic factors, concerns about the effects of a Trump presidency have also played a part in drawing more American students to Canada.
A number of published reports have also noted Canada stands to benefit from foreign students, who might have otherwise attended institutions in the United States, but are revising their plans over fears that they might encounter a more hostile environment.
This said, Bernard points to factors other than the current political climate.
“What is a stronger force for students from the United States to attend Canadian [post-secondary] institutions is the high quality of education at a comparatively lower cost than other English-speaking countries such as the [United Kingdom], Australia and New Zealand,” he said.
Consider the numbers. “When you look at an institution like Camosun College, where our tuition is $14,000 a year for international students, one of the lowest in Canada, the cost of achieving a quality recognized credential without having to go into extreme debt is obtainable for people who otherwise could not afford a similar education in their own country or any other in the world,” said Bernard.
In the United States, meanwhile, domestic students attending public universities can expect to pay on average between $18,000 and $27,000 US per year in tuition alone, depending on whether they qualify as in or out-of-state students, Bernard said. By comparison, eligible Canadian residents pay, on average, between $3,000 and $5,000 in tuition fees, he added.
In short, American students face lower tuition fees than at home, even if they have to pay international student fees.
Factor in the global quality of Canadian post-secondary institutions and the favourable exchange, and Canadian post-secondary institutions are a “bargain” for foreign students, including those from the United States.
“I believe the quality of education Canada has to offer and the value of the education are the real factors driving international students to choose Canada, whether they are from the United States or other countries around the world,” said Bernard.
He also noted that the Canadian market for international students operates as a user-pay system, that sees Canadian institutions calculate international tuition fees according to the true cost of educating foreigners.
“No Canadian tax dollars are spent, which many people are not aware of,” he said.