By Alex Sangha
The high cost of international student fees is becoming a major problem in Canada. Many international students are forced to work full-time jobs, including overtime, in addition to their full-time studies. Unfortunately, very often the jobs that are available to them are low-paid, and exploitive, which no one else wants to do.
Many international students have little support to help them adjust to a new country, which further compounds their stress, worry, trauma, and anxiety.
The colleges and universities in Canada are directly responsible for creating many of these difficult and challenging life situations because of the high cost of international student fees.
International students should be encouraged to come to Canada to study and enhance our educational system. They should not have to devote a lot of their time, effort, energy, and money just to survive and pay high tuition fees.
Lower tuition attracts best and brightest
If international student fees were lower, then it would increase the quality of international applicants because more people could afford to study in Canada. Canadian post-secondary institutions would benefit from more ideas, innovation, and cross-cultural learning, and attract the best and brightest from around the world.
Being able to attract top global students boosts the reputation, research, and educational experience offered by the school.
Some countries in Europe have already figured this out. For example, tuition is free for international students studying in Norway and at public universities in Germany. Not surprisingly, Norway and Germany are two of the most successful developed countries in the world, in part due to their affordable and accessible post-secondary education system.
Education is the great equalizer in society. It should not matter if you are rich or poor. The best and brightest should not have to worry about a financial barriers. It’s a great disservice to our world that only the rich can afford to attend many of the top universities in Canada.
God knows, how many future Nobel Prize winners were not given an opportunity to reach their potential or capacity as students in Canada because they had to work poor, minimum-wage, exploitive jobs to survive and pay their international tuition fees.
Although I feel domestic and international students should both have access to free universal post-secondary education in Canada, we can start by providing financial relief to the best and brightest from around the world who choose Canada as a place to learn and grow.
Delta resident Alex Sangha is the founder of Sher Vancouver, the Sundar Prize and Festival, and Goodness Pictures Ltd. Visit his website at AlexSangha.com.