30% rise in international student enrollment in last year
A five per cent increase in international tuition next year passed the board of governors meeting on Wednesday.
The new fees will take effect in September 2019 and apply to both existing and new international students.
Revenue from domestic tuition and material fees at George Brown College (GBC) is projected to fall from $76.5 million in 2018-19 to $68.6 million in 2019-20 according to the budget.
Ever since the Ontario government announced a 10 per cent cut to domestic tuition, there have been questions as to how colleges and universities will make up for this loss in funding.
“Total budgeted revenue shows a 2 per cent decrease, driving by core operating grant and domestic tuition,” the GBC budget stated. “Those declines are most strongly offset with increases to international tuition.”
“It’s unfortunate that it has increased again, as for many of my international friends they already feel the prices are quite high,” said Nureisse Khan, the student representative on the board of governors.
“We will be facing a battle in upcoming years as the college is still a business who needs to gain capital, but it is possible that some of our potential students might be turned off by the price increase,” she said.
This increase will bring the total amount of tuition and materials fees coming out of international students’ pockets to $109.7 million, which is $7.6 million more than this year.
“Every international student who comes to any Canadian institution should be aware, and it’s public, that prices may increase in a certain frequency and time and up to a certain amount,” said Rick Huijbregts, GBC’s vice president of strategy and innovation. “Now I’m not taking away from if a student is here and pays a certain amount and the fees go up during the time they’re here—that can be hard to absorb.”
It has been a year of strong growth at GBC which saw 30 per cent more international students enroll in 2018-19 than was originally budgeted.
The college has budgeted for a further increase of six per cent in international student enrolment in 2019-20.
Huijbregts said that the college is aware that they will have to increase services to help the growing number of international students.
Karen Thomson, vice president of corporate services of GBC, said that the college has set aside funds in the new budget to create an international recruitment tool that will aim to make application process for international students smoother.
Thomson also said that there are limits to how many international students GBC can recruit.
This includes requirements where domestic students who are qualified for a program must be accepted before international students and she said that some programs are already at “maximum capacity.”
“Frankly our position is we want to ensure that we don’t have 70 per cent international students because international students come here for a Canadian experience,” said Thomson.