High numbers of international students, low numbers of support and staff, says expert

Langara wants to spend more money recruiting international students

Langara's international education department. Photo byLiam Hill-Allan.
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Reported by Liam Hill-Allan

As Langara College proposes an increase of its international student recruitment budget, concerns surround the ability of B.C. institutions to accommodate an influx of international students.

Langara’s 2019 Operating and Capital Budget would see an increase of $763,000 for international recruitment agent fees. The budget projects an increase in revenue made from international students every year for the next three years.

According to Statistics Canada, the number of international students enrolling in Canadian post-secondary institutions has been on the rise for decades, a fact that has some educators questioning whether B.C. is capable of accommodating the growing number of international students.

George Davison, president of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators said that a large number of foreign students is not an issue so much as a lack of support for staff and students.

“The biggest concern I hear today is that international students aren’t prepared for courses and programs that we offer,” Davison said. “We’re less concerned about the numbers then properly supporting the ones that we have.”

Managing growing numbers

Kwantlen Polytechnic University closed applications for international students in 2018 after receiving a record number of applications. KPU enrolled 2,519 international students in the 2018 summer semester, more than double from the previous year.

Comparably, Langara College had a total of 7,114 international students enrolled in the 2017-18 school year.

In an emailed statement sent to The Voice, Ajay Patel, Langara’s vice president of external development, said that Langara does its best to not exceed the number of international students the college can handle.

“We do our best to ensure our enrolment targets consider whether there are enough courses for the students who accept our offer can get the courses they need,” Patel wrote.

Mel Broitman, an international student recruiter, said a growing population of international students has presented post-secondary institutions with an attractive source of revenue.

“[There are countries] that have lots of young people that need a world class education, they can’t get it at home,” Broitman Said. “[Universities] are looking at foreign visa fee paying students as a way of generating revenues to meet their bottom line.”

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