Why are Indian students at this Canadian college stressed?
Much stress. Source: Shutterstock

Two words: Fees and family.

At the Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, commonly known as Humber College, international students are reportedly feeling a great deal of stress arising from the high fees they have paid to attend the institution and the pressures from family back home.

Many students, especially those from abroad, go through a range of emotions when transitioning to college. But the situation’s usually a little different for international students.

For one, they pay substantially higher fees than their local counterparts. At Humber, international student advisor Matthew Keefe told Humber Et Cetera that the approximately 5,000 international students at its Lakeshore, North and Orangeville campuses each pay more than CAD$7,500 per semester.

19-year-old Rayank Chauhan believes that figure should be reduced.

“That’s the question we can debate,” she said. “We pay over $14,000 for two semesters,” while domestic students pay less than half. 

“There should be some (effort) to reduce those fees,” Rayank said.

The number of international students in Canadian universities has surged since 2008, with many drawn to the country due to the Trump effect and the cheaper tuition fees compared to US universities. Ontario’s minister of training, colleges and universities Reza Moridi said, as reported by The Star:

“Each international student contributes about $35,000 to our economy, and $35,000 is creating a job, right?”

However, compared to local students, their fees are much higher, to the point where they are now seen as “cash cows” for Canadian universities. The Star notes that they pay up to three or four times more tuition than their Ontario peers, but do not enjoy the same perks in terms of financial aid of affordable health coverage.

In 2011-12, total revenue from international students’ tuition fees have more than doubled from CAD$620 million to CAD$1.28 billion in 2015-16, CBC News reported.


Such high fees are making it difficult for Humber’s students to consider transferring to another program difficult. Failing is not an option either.

20-year-old Amanat Rattan, a first-year student from India says she is stressed trying to maintain her marks.

“I cannot fail this semester,” Amanat, who studies culinary management said. “I cannot think about changing my programme because I’ve paid a lot.”

Keefe says their families can be a source of stress as well.

“Other pressures come from their parents, sometimes there are pressures from them to successfully get their permanent residence, so they can immigrate them or their families into Canada,” he said.

“There’s often pressures amongst themselves as well, like any student would have.”

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