Canadian universities will welcome unprecedented numbers of international students, with some institutions seeing jumps of 25 per cent or more in admissions of students from abroad, evidence that Canada is increasingly seen as a tolerant, stable destination in a world beset by political uncertainty.
Applications from international students were double digits this year, with record levels of interest from American students. Many observers had suggested that the election of Donald Trump was a reason. But until this month, when many foreign students must respond to admission offers.
“We have a rising tide of isolationism and exclusion in Europe, in the United States, and people are looking to Canada,” said David Turpin, the president of the University of Alberta. “We will have these incredible students who will be educated in Canada, and in many, many cases go back home and build linkages that are crucial for our future development,” he said. “International students do not displace domestic students. It helps globalize the institution so that everybody, regardless of whether they grew up in Edmonton or Toronto, can meet and interact with people from around the world,” Dr. Turpin said.At the University of Alberta, the percentage of international students who have accepted admission offers has increased by 27 per cent from last year. The school has also seen an increase of approximately 82 per cent in applications from graduate students from abroad. Numbers are similar across the country. The University of Toronto, which has been recruiting students in the U.S. this past year, has doubled the percentage of American students who accept an offer. At Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., acceptances by international students are up 40 per cent. Even smaller institutions, such as Brock University in St. Catharines, are expecting more than a third more international students to arrive in the fall term.
Some prominent Canadian universities are in the midst of ambitious internationalization drives, including recruiting globally recognized researchers and professors. At the University of British Columbia, for example, money from an increase to international student fees is targeted toward the creation of the President’s Excellence Chairs Program. Six research areas will see a substantial boost in research heft, with each chair receiving as much as $10-million to $15-million to set up research labs or teams.
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