As U.S. President-elect Donald Trump prepares to settle into the White House early in the new year, many international students looking to study in the United States are beginning to look at Canada as an option to further their education, according to local learning centres.
While the U.S. still remains the destination of choice for the majority of foreign students worldwide, with more than 740,000 students enrolled in U.S. post-secondary institutions (according to 2014 UNESCO Institute for Statistics), many local post-secondary institutions have been fielding an increase in inquiries from abroad.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University doesn’t often see large numbers of U.S. students wanting to study in Canada, however the recruitment office has seen a jump in queries over the past few months.
“Interest from students wanting to come to Canada to study as international students… we’ve definitely seen an increase in inquiries from U.S. students, emails, ‘how do I apply, how do I get a study permit, how does it work,’ that sort of thing,” said Laurie Clancy, Kwantlen’s director of international recruitment, Admissions and articulation.
“I can’t put a number on it at this point, but we’ve definitely experienced that.”
As for interest from international students from outside the U.S., Clancy said the school has no way of tracking current trends, however she said Kwantlen is having those conversations with students at overseas recruitment fairs and she has definitely seen an increase in interest.
“Will we see an increase in enrolment or not? I can’t say, but It certainly comes up in conversations now and it never used to,” said Clancy. “Canada is seen as welcoming and multicultural and all the things they’re worried about with the U.S. they see Canada as a good alternative.”
And although political leadership has rarely been top of mind for students looking to come to this country, the recent federal election in Canada has not gone unnoticed, Clancy said.
“(Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau and his worldwide appeal has definitely been noticed.”
Business degrees are by far the most popular for foreign students, and despite the common belief to the contrary, foreign students coming to study in Canada actually open up spaces for domestic students – by paying much higher enrolment fees and allowing schools to open up extra seats.
“International students don’t displace domestic students, they actually create opportunities for domestic students,” Clancy said.
Surrey’s Simon Fraser University is also beginning to see more questions about foreign enrolement as well.
“It’s still really early in the recruitment cycle, but the trends are looking positive,” said Bing Lee, director of student recruitment and transition.
“For many of the top research institutions, we’ve seen an increase in international students from both the U.S. and abroad. I can confirm that interest in our undergraduate programs from U.S. high school students is higher (this year) compared to this time last year.”
There are more than 2,000 international students currently attending classes in Surrey secondary and elementary schools – about half of which are funded by the province – who are children of parents on study or work permits, are kids of ministers, or who are refugee claimants.
The other 1,000 or so foreign students pay tuition fees and for the school year ending June 30, 2016, the district had collected $13.5 million in revenues from offshore tuition fees. This was up from $10.9 million the previous year.
International students come to Surrey from across the globe, including Brazil, Chile, China, Columbia, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.