The Impact of US Tuition on Students

Rising US tuition fees could be a major reason why international students are choosing to study in Canada. With a US$5,000 tuition hike since 2012, international students are now paying 11 times more than domestic students. For perspective, tuition for Americans only went up $450. The US has some of the best schools in North America but with the increasing price of education—especially the spike within the last four years—international students may be more inclined to submit their applications north of the border.

According to The Power of International Education’s International Students Data Report, the number of enrolments from international students went up 1.5 per cent over the 2017/18 school year. However, this includes OPT (Optional Practical Training) students, which are undergraduate students who are not newly-enroled students, but are currently pursuing a co-op-like term in their degree.

But this isn’t much of an enrolment rise from previous years. According to the Institute of International Education, international students enrolled as first-time undergraduates declined six per cent in 2016/17. When you look at what domestic and international students paid for school between 1996 and 2016 the problem becomes clear. The ten-year study concludes that the gap between domestic and international students is becoming increasingly drastic.  International students’ fees increased almost $10,000.

Net Tuition and Fees for Full-Time Undergraduate Students Attending Selective Four-Year American Colleges, 1996-2016

Source: National Postsecondary Student Aid Study. Figures are adjusted for inflation. PRESTON COOPER/FORBES

North of the border, international student enrolment is four times more than it was in 2000, with more than 500,000 students expected to study in Canada by the end of 2018. Aside from Canada’s reputation as a multicultural country, lower tuition fees may be an added bonus for international applicants. The average tuition at Canadian universities over 2017/18 averages at CA$25,180.

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How These Changes Affect The Economy

The opportunity to work in a host country after graduation is important to international students. This allows them to apply their learned skills within their field of study and build a career as they work towards a permanent residency. In Canada, about 40 per cent of all economic-class immigrants accepted are international students.

And this is great for Canada’s economy.  In 2017 alone, international students contributed about $19 billion to Canada’s economy through tuition, accommodation and discretionary spending. This put education as the fourth largest export sector in Canada’s economy. As a cherry on top, Canada announced a new multi-year immigration plan that aims to welcome 350,000 foreign newcomers by 2021.

Trump’s immigration policies, along with his new revisions to the H-1B visa, is making it harder for highly skilled immigrants to obtain a work visa—or even a permanent residency. This ultimately blocks future opportunities for international students who wish to stay and work in the US upon graduating. This isn’t good for the US economy. The tech sector relies on these foreign workers, with 64.5 per cent of them working in computer-related occupations.

International students are a great source of revenue for schools. However, if US tuition fees are too high, international students will look elsewhere.

Why are international students choosing Canada as their study destination? Find out in this blog post!