Students Appalled Over Extreme Increases to International Student Tuition Fees

Friday, March 24, 2006

Written by CSA release

This afternoon the University of Guelph officially announced that international student fees for incoming students will be increasing significantly next fall. While domestic students at the University of Guelph can expect to see their tuition fees rise by an average of 5% this fall, the University is saying that incoming international undergraduate and graduate students can expect to pay tuition fee increases of 41% and 47% respectively.

Last year, during the second year of the tuition fee freeze for domestic students in Ontario, international student tuition fees increased by 4% at the University of Guelph. At that time, international students were already paying approximately twice the amount for their tuition than their domestic counterparts.

This month hefty increases in UHIP fees were also announced across the province. International students will now be required to pay a 35 – 70% increase in UHIP fees, which are already pegged at between $528 to $1,056, depending on how many dependents one has. International students also face many other financial barriers, including high travel costs and the inability to apply for work off campus.

"I feel horrible about the 41% increase," says Sunny Choi, president of the International Student Organization at the University of Guelph. She went on to say that the cost of tuition is one of the main considerations for international students when choosing a university and that this increase will significantly decrease the number of international students that choose to come to Guelph.

"The increase will not only limit opportunity for education for international students, but also discourage them from gaining new experiences in Canada," says Choi. Choi says that many international students may have already decided to come to the University of Guelph and may have turned down acceptances of admission from other Canadian universities. With such a sudden and extreme hike in tuition and UHIP fees, international students may no longer be financially able to come to Guelph, and no longer have the opportunity to enroll elsewhere.

"The university administration says 'price implies quality'… however, if they want to emphasize that 'price implies quality,' the quality of university should be better for the students who are paying for that 'quality'. But we all know the ranking of our university dropped significantly compared to the past years."

"The University has been limited by the provincial government as to how much they are allowed to increase domestic student tuition fees, but there are no parameters as to how much international student tuition fees can be increased," explained Scott Gilbert, External Affairs Commissioner at the Central Student Association.

"Because the University can't increase domestic student tuition fees more than an average of 5%, it is exploiting international students as source of income, simply because they can. The University should be looking for other sources of income to balance its budget, such as taking out loans, drawing on the Heritage fund (and other such funds) or asking administrators not to take pay increases this year. This decision is not only outright discrimination against international students, but it also breaks the assurances the university made last year stating that tuition increases would reflect inflation."

Hannah Draper
Communications Commissioner
Central Student Association
519.824.4120 x. 56376


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