'Expensive' foreign students tuition fees help Laurentian University subsidise costs
The Canadian state of Ontario only subsidises local students, meaning foreign ones have to pay higher fees to cover additional costs. Source: Shutterstock

THE tuition fees of just 600 international students account for 20 percent of Laurentian University’s total revenue, reflecting a recurring trend among Canadian universities increasingly relying on foreign students to plug the cuts from state funds, CBC News reports.

At Laurentian, the fees foreign students pay – CAD22,000 (US$17,278) a year, more than three times the fee of a Canadian student – are going towards subsidising eight percent of the school’s operating budget. Laurentian’s vice-president (academic) and provost Pierre Zundel says the higher fees are justified as it’s necessary for the university to cover all costs for its foreign students, as Ontario only subsidises its Canadian students.

“We don’t have to actually bear the full cost of providing Canadian students with their education. That’s not the case for international students. International students also come with costs,” Zundel said.

“They are students who need some cultural acclimatisation when they get here.”

“We have to provide them supports since they are coming from a different kind of environment,” Zundel said.

While Zundel says it is not a big “cash grab”, the hefty fees are placing a strain on its foreign students, such as Jessica Kienansatu, a second-year student from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kienansatu says she is very stressed about getting good grades as her chemical engineering programme is costing her parents a lot.

“We have the same teachers,” Kienansatu said. “I don’t see why we have to pay that much to get the exact same thing.”


“[One person will pay] CAD$600 (US$471) for a course, and you will have to pay more than CAD$2,000 (US$1570) for the exact same course.”

Laurentian’s website states it is 10th in the Primarily Undergraduate category in Maclean’s University Rankings, which ranks Canadian universities in five broad areas based on 14 performance indicators, such as student satisfaction and number of national award wins.

The university also highlighted it ranks third in terms of operating dollars spent per student.

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