Choosing Canada


In an article for CNBC, Abigail Hess reports on why international students are applying to and enrolling at Canadian colleges and universities instead of U.S. institutions.

Hess provides the following statistics:

The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers surveyed over 250 American colleges and universities and found that 39 percent of Americans schools witnessed a decline in international applications in the last year.

Canadian schools, on the other hand, have seen a dramatic increase in applications from abroad. For example, Wilfrid Laurier University reported 32 percent increase in applications from abroad, McMaster University reported a 33 percent increase and the University of Toronto (Canada’s top-ranked and largest university) saw a 20 increase.

Student recruitment professionals attribute this shift to several factors, one of which is cost:

Some students are choosing to go to school in The Great White North because of cost. . . . The average cost for an international student to attend a public university in Canada is approximately $17,264. The cost for international students to study at a four-year public college in the United States is $24,930 and it is incredibly rare for international students to receive financial aid in the United States. . . .

But the current political rhetoric and realities in the U.S. are also very clearly a factor:

Many higher-education professionals attribute the shift in popularity to the “Trump Effect,” suggesting that President Donald Trump’s criticisms of foreigners is causing students to choose Canada over the United States. . . .

According to the Washington Post, the Department of Homeland Security is considering a proposal that would require foreign students to reapply for permission to study in the United States every year they attend school.

Whatever the causes, this shift is having an economic impact beyond the financial bottom lines of U.S. colleges and universities”

International students . . . provide a “significant source of tuition revenue that directly benefits domestic students.” Overall, “International students contribute $35 billion to the U.S. economy.”

But if this shift becomes a longer-term trend, the effects will extend beyond the economic. Hess quotes Dennis Hanno, the President of Wheaton College in Massachusetts:

“Diversity is an educational asset, and international students are a rich source of meaningful difference. . . . [More broadly,] the world’s view of the United States as a land of opportunity is based, in no small measure, on the possibilities that our colleges and universities create.”


The complete text of this article is available at:



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