tuitionfeesOver the last decade, there has been a general increase in student tuition fees throughout the country. Canadian full-time undergraduate students paid 3.3 percent more in tuition fees in the 2013/2014 fall semester than last year, according to Statistics Canada.

Students paid an average of $5,772 which is a significant rise in comparison to the $5,586 paid the previous year. Although this is an alarming increase for everyone involved, the effect is felt the most by international students.

By the end of 2012, international student fees were averaging about $18,640 more than three times the amount paid by Canadian students. At some universities, international students may pay over $20,000 a year. The unfair financial burden may deter future international students who were contemplating Canada as a destination for continuing education.

If you think this is not a problem for you, refer to the Trent budget. According to the 2013/2014 operating budget:
“International fees are not regulated by the province, however, the March 2012 Budget announced a $750 per international student deduction in University Municipal Tax Grants beginning in 2013/14. Universities are entitled to pass this deduction along in the form of increased international tuition fees, and preliminary survey results indicate that most Ontario universities intend to do so.

“International fee deductions will negatively affect government grant revenue by as much as $375K in 2013/14, offset by whatever amount is passed on through increased tuition rates to international students.”

The Director of Trent International Program’s budget of CAD $1,428,556 as of 2013/2014 was reduced by CAD $71,428, a 5.0 percent reduction, which reduces recruitment travel, supplies, and international student awards.

Also stated in the 2013/2014 Operating Budget Report:
“Tuition rate increases are set to be 3 percent for undergraduate, graduate, and continuing international students (new international students plus $750 to off-set government grant reduction).”

Post-secondary institutions quickly rush to defend the constantly rising cost of education. According to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), enrolment is at an all-time high, signalling and increasing the importance for higher education.

In 2011, enrolment reached an all-time high of one million. The AUCC estimates that between now and 2020, 2.1 million jobs will be created to satisfy this highly saturated employee base. Graduates are also likely to earn higher salaries and have higher job retention. Therefore, it can be argued that the high tuition fees are justified and well worth the investment. Be that as it may, the crippling burden of student loans would probably result in a generation drowning in heavy debt coupled with a constantly rising cost of living.

The situation is dire, but remember that you still have a voice in this matter.

The TCSA is starting a campaign to combat the constantly rising international fees. This initiative intends to empower the international community to fight against unreasonable increases.

The campaign’s goal is to recommend alternative solutions to the head tax, report any discrepancies of financial report with actual increases, build an equitable tuition fee framework, strengthen international student services by appropriately funding TIP, and raise awareness of the domestic to international students tuition fees ratio.

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Hopefully, the first open forum on the issue will be held during the week of the October 28. The TCSA is currently looking for volunteers to help promote this campaign, so take this opportunity to get involved in a cause that really matters.

For more information, email the Vice President of Campaigns and Equity, Braden Freer, at [email protected]