The University of Toronto is ranked 22nd worldwide. Source: Shutterstock

Later this year, everybody wanting to do a PhD at the University of Toronto will all pay the same amount.

Ranked 22nd in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2018, the leading Canadian institution announced last week that as of autumn 2018, most international PhD students will pay tuition fees equivalent to their domestic counterparts.

According to a statement from the university, “the new fee structure will benefit current and prospective international PhD students and help U of T compete on the global stage for leading scholars.” It means a reduction in fees of around CA$15,000 (US$12,200) per year.

“We strive to remove any barriers, financial or otherwise, that graduate students might face as they look to attend our university,” said Joshua Barker, dean of the School of Graduate Studies. “This is very positive news for the university.”

Canada’s most widely read newspaper The Globe and Mail praised the move in an editorial on Wednesday, arguing that the “symbolism” was important.

“It says to the world’s best and brightest that the top research university in Canada’s biggest city wants them here – and not just because of the gilded fees they pay,” it opined.

Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto on Canada Day in 2017. Source: Maarten van den Heuvel/Unsplash

The newspaper noted that while most PhD students don’t pay tuition out of pocket for the first four years of their degree, so the benefit would likely only start accuring in fifth year, “a savings of $15,000 can be a big deal for a young scholar from Iran or Bangladesh.”

U of T’s decision will impact thousands. According to the university, 1179 out of its 6145 PhD students in the 2017-18 are from overseas.

“Our international doctoral students have a tremendously positive impact at U of T,” added Barker of U of T.

“They bring new perspectives to research and are instrumental in building an international network that benefits our graduates beyond their time at the university. Our PhD graduates are employed in 97 countries around the world,” he said.

“Yes, there’s a slight unfairness to the fact that Canadians will be paying the same tuition as foreign students. But that’s similar to the way all public services for immigrants work, and Canadians overwhelmingly think it’s worth it,” concluded The Globe and Mail.

“Plus it’s good business. Nearly half of international and permanent-resident PhD students who graduated from U of T since 2000 stayed in Canada, keeping their skills here.”

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