International student enrolment to jump 300 per cent in B.C.

Diversity of student population at Langara remains goal

The International Education department inside Building A at Langara College. Photo by Chris Thoroski.
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Reported by Christopher Thoroski

Next fall, international student enrolment applications will have spiked by nearly 300 per cent in B.C. since 2010, causing provincial education officials and Langara administrators to adjust how they manage international enrolment.

On Feb. 8, the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education said in its service plan that the target for international enrolment in the province for next year is ‘to be determined’. Since 2010, enrolment at B.C.’s post-secondary schools has increased by 44 per cent, up from 90,037 study permit holders to a historic high of 130,053 in the province.

The lack of a target is partly due to a significant spike in enrolment from international students, with a significant amount of that interest coming from Americans.

Provincial government wants strategy before setting projections

Andrew Wilkinson, the B.C. Minister of Advanced Education, said in an emailed statement that the province is waiting for the new International Education Strategy before conducting a year-on-year breakdown projection.

Wilkinson said that international student tuition fees, sometimes three to four times the amount that domestic students pay, create additional seats and opportunities for domestic students studying in B.C.

“In 2015, international students in B.C. spent $3.5 billion on tuition, accommodation and living expenses, arts, culture and recreation,” Wilkinson said.

Increase poses challenge to Langara’s budget planning

Student diversity at Langara is a priority for Ajay Patel, the vice-president of external development. Submitted photo.

Officials with the Langara Faculty Association said increased international enrolment can be risky for the college’s budget planning.

“It puts everyone in a precarious situation,” said Lynn Carter, president of the Langara Faculty Association in a March 12 interview with the Vancouver Sun. “What if something happens in China or India and those students stop coming?”

Ajay Patel, vice-president, external development at Langara, said that the college will continue to diversify the student population nonetheless.

“We have, and I anticipate will continue to see demand from international students for our programming and we will manage our international student enrolment based on our capacity to provide quality programming and support for all students,” Patel said.

 

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