Canada Seeks to Attract International Students; Agencies Combine Recruitment Efforts

Five major university associations in Canada have agreed to form an international student marketing campaign to help attract more international students to Canada.  The Canadians are responding aggressively to increased competition from the U.S., U.K. and Australia, countries which are hoping to attract international students to their own universities.  Canada has the smallest international student population at this point but that might change if Canada is successful in reaching international students.  Heretofore, Canada has been the best-kept secret among international students and many are not fully aware of Canada’s advantages:

  • Lower Tuition – Average international student tuition in Canada is $13,985, which is significantly less than international student tuition at any 4-year U.S. university, e.g. $24,367 at the University of Washington (public),  $40,169 at the University of Southern California (private).
  • Lower Living Costs – The average living costs for students at a Canadian university is $9,569 USD whereas the average living costs for a student at an American university is $18,060.
  • Internationally Respected Institutions – Canadian universities are respected internationally, with Canada placing 23 universities in the ARWU Top 500 World University Rankings, with only four countries placing more: Japan (36), the U.K. (42), Germany (43), and the U.S. (170).  This showing is even more impressive considering Canada has only 34 million people compared to 61 million for the U.K., 82 million for Germany, and 127 million for Japan.   Australia, with a population of 21 million, placed 14 universities in the ARWU top 500.
  • Open Immigration Policy – Unlike the United States, which limits HB-1 worker visas for skilled immigrants at 65,000 per year, Canada has made it easier for skilled immigrants to obtain worker visas.  The process for getting a worker visa is even easier for students with a degree from a Canadian university.  This allows international students to stay in Canada after college to get work experience and polish their English skills.
  • Better Quality Control – Universities in Canada have to meet a higher minimum standard of quality than U.S. universities because universities in Canada are regulated by provincial governments.  In some provinces such as Ontario, universities can only be established through an act of the provincial legislature. Conversely, U.S. universities can form independently and are not regulated by government bodies.  The only form of quality control in the U.S. is accreditation, where a university is given formal approval by a private accrediting body.  These private accrediting bodies are independent of the government and can use any standards they wish in accrediting institutions.  As a result, there are many universities accredited in the U.S. that would not the meet standards of minimum quality enforced by governments in Canada, the U.K., or Australia.
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