Trent Radio 2023/24 Online Ads
Severn Court (October-August)
Theatre Trent 2023/24
Arthur News School of Fish
On January 22nd, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marc Miller, announced a two year reduction and cap on international student study permits beginning in September 2024. Photo courtesy of CTV News.

Trent's Enrolment Goals, Financial Outlook at Odds With Federal Cap on International Student Study Permits

Written by
Sebastian Johnston-Lindsay
and
and
January 23, 2024
Trent's Enrolment Goals, Financial Outlook at Odds With Federal Cap on International Student Study Permits
On January 22nd, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marc Miller, announced a two year reduction and cap on international student study permits beginning in September 2024. Photo courtesy of CTV News.

On January 22nd, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marc Miller announced that the Trudeau government would begin capping the number of study visas for incoming international students for a period of two years. The cap, which will be applied equally across all provinces and territories based on population, will reduce the number of study visas issued by the federal government from 560,000 in 2023 to 364,000 in 2024, representing a 35% cut.

Though it is unclear how this decision by the feds will affect Trent University, the school has made no secret that its strategy for maintaining financial viability hinges almost entirely on increases to the number of international students it attracts as well as the higher tuition it can charge those students alongside the ability to raise that tuition on an annual basis.

Despite this reality at many post-secondary institutions across Ontario and the rest of the country, Miller was emphatic that the government should take this step in order to ensure that students are able to be properly supported during their time in Canada.

“To be absolutely clear, these measures are not against individual international students, they are to ensure that as future students arrive in Canada, they receive the quality of education that they signed up for, and the hope that they were provided in their home countries,” Miller said.

Ultimately, it will fall on the provinces to determine how the spaces are divided between educational institutions. Importantly, the cap will only be applied to students entering undergraduate programs, meaning that graduate and professional programs are exempt.  

One of the main pillars of the announcement was the ending postgraduate work permits for students studying in programs operating under “public-private partnerships” — a model of education that sees a publicly funded institution, usually situated in a major city, allowing for delivery of courses through a private college located elsewhere in the country. Graduating from one of these programs would then allow the graduate to apply for a work permit following graduation.

These agreements, which Trent is not currently involved in, however, have led to concerns about the degrees to which institutions and cities would be adequately prepared to support the influx of students. As recently as last month, Mayor of Brampton, Patrick Brown, called upon the federal government to restrict permits and suggested tying the number of permits to available housing in a city due to the reality that many students are already finding it difficult to find affordable housing during their studies. 

To this end, Miller recognized the fact that “it would be a disservice to welcome international students in Canada, knowing not all of them are getting the resources they need to succeed in Canada, and having them return home disillusioned and disappointed.”

The issue of affordability and availability of housing is something that students at Trent University have expressed, as the average price of a room in a shared house reportedly now routinely exceeds $800. 

Since 2015, the number of international students studying at Canadian institutions has nearly tripled and eclipsed one-million students at the end of 2023 with Trent University currently home to just under 2,800 international students, or 20% of total enrolment, according to a statement to Arthur

In the 2023/24 budget, Trent’s Board outlined targets to increase international student enrolment year over year at a rate of between 30-40% year over year between its two campuses between 2023 and 2024. 

In response to a series of questions regarding this announcement, a spokesperson from the university insists that “Trent has been a responsible player in the postsecondary sector, preparing for growth in domestic and international enrolment for some time.”

According to the same budget, domestic students enrolment was set to increase by 1% at Peterborough and an average of 4.6% in Durham between 2023-2024. 

Representatives from Trent did not directly respond to questions regarding how the cap may affect financial planning for the 2024/25 academic year, however they did note that they support the position taken by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) which noted the existence of “unintended consequences for the sector” as well as the political realities facing post-secondary institutions in Ontario.

There is concern among university and college leaders that this decision by the federal government will affect the bottom line of educational institutions who have significantly increased their enrolment of international students in recent years in part to make up for funding and domestic tuition freezes by provincial governments. 

Additionally, the effects of this announcement are likely to be acutely felt in the province of Ontario. As Minister Miller explained, due to the higher percentage of international students studying in Ontario when compared to other jurisdictions, the province could see up to a 50% reduction in the number of permits granted within the province. 

In a statement following Miller’s announcement, President and CEO of the COU, Steve Orsini, expressed concern about the specific state of universities in Ontario noting that “declining operating grants, a cut and freeze to tuition and now the threat of a substantial cut to international student enrolment is undermining a key pillar of our economy.”

“Before today’s announcement, there were at least 10 universities facing sizeable operating deficits, totaling $175 million this year and growing to $273 million next year,” he continued, while asking that the federal government “take the time to target those who do not provide support for students as well as those who have seen incredible growth over the past two years.”

Orsini’s statement did not directly mention public-private partnerships or specific institutions. 

During the most recent Trent Board of Governors meeting on December 8th, President Leo Groarke took pains to express his pride in Trent’s ability to ramp up international student enrolment. Indeed, at one point, Groarke went so far as to note one of the main reasons Laurier has ceased to be able to attract a large number of international students was his decision to leave his role as the school’s Provost and Vice-President Academic to become President of Trent University in 2014.

According to public documents released as part of the Board’s open session on December 8th, planning for the 2024/25 university budget “current and future operating plans will rely on continued enrolment growth, including increasing international enrolment, in order to maintain a balanced budget.”

This statement comes from a Board report outlining the current fiscal environment and expands upon the university’s growing reliance on international student enrolment as a key driver of its ability to maintain financial health.

However, the report also acknowledges the “additional pressures” that high enrolment growth places on the school’s teaching, staff, and infrastructure resources which are required to support this growth “especially when domestic student enrolment growth is not funded.”

“The additional reliance on international student enrolment while competition and uncertainties increase creates [sic] additional risk to the University’s ability to achieve its enrolment projections necessary to maintain financial health for the foreseeable future.”

What that foreseeable future will look like now is anyone’s guess.

Trent Radio 2023/24 Online Ads
Severn Court (October-August)
Theatre Trent 2023/24
Arthur News School of Fish
Written By
Sponsored
Trent Radio 2023/24 Online Ads
Severn Court (October-August)
Theatre Trent 2023/24
Arthur News School of Fish

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Caption text

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

"Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system."
  • adfasdfa
  • asdfasdfasd
  • asfdasdf
  • asdfasdf

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Caption text

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

"Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system."
  • adfasdfa
  • asdfasdfasd
  • asfdasdf
  • asdfasdf