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Understanding
Canada's international
education landscape
2
While this announcement came without warning all we can do is remain calm, as
those “bad players” will be forced to change and those who were already providing
housing supports and wrap-around services for students just need to keep doing
what they are doing.
We have our current students to support, so they cannot get lost in the shuffle.
Canadian schools need to sound a loud and clear message that we are still open to
international students, and graduates from public institutions are still eligible for
the PGWP. We still need to be in the market explaining the situation, and that
Canada is still open but no longer wide-open, and some areas like Toronto and
Vancouver will have less spots.
Kim Loeb
Executive Director, Professional Applied and Continuing Education
The University of Winnipeg PACE
Student interest in Canada
was already falling before the
student visa cap and post-
study work visa review news.
For example, interest towards
British Columbian institutions
has taken the biggest hit since
2021 with a drop of 36.7%.
Ontario (-17.3%)
Prairies (-10.8%)
British Columbia (-36.7%)
Quebec (-35.5%)
Atlantic (-23.5%)
Student interest by region - Canada
Student interest from
India (Canada’s largest
source country) was
down 40% year over year.
Other origin countries have also
shown significant decrease of
demand for Destination Canada,
including Iran and the US.
Origin countries
02/2023 – 01/2024
While interest in
Bachelor’s and Master’s
in Canada has dipped,
demand for Canadian
PHDs (which are
exempt from student
visa caps) has been
rising for some time.
5
Absolute interest in Canadian PHDs
Average tuition in Canada,
in CAD 2023/24
7076
7573
38081
22061
0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000 35000 40000
Canadian Undergraduate
Canadian Graduate
International Undergraduate
International Graduate
Source: Statistics Canada
International undergraduate
tuition is a huge source of
revenue.
International students for
postgraduate programmes will
become more important as the
cap on undergraduate student
visa erodes university/college
finances.
$46,433
Average International Undergraduate tuition for Ontario - the
highest in Canada. Ontario is expected to be hardest hit by the
cap on international undergraduate visas.
7
Certain origin countries prefer either universities or colleges in
Canada.
For example, prospective students from the Netherlands, Iran and
Bangladesh are more interested in Canadian universities.
Prospective students from Hong Kong, The United States and the
United Arab Emirates are more interested in Canadian universities.
Preference for Canada’s
colleges vs universities
In terms of the distribution of
interest across Canadian regions,
it is noteworthy that certain
disciplines may hold more
significance in one area
compared to another.
For instance, while Engineering &
Technology garners greater
attention in Quebec, Medicine &
Health may not be as popular.
Relative demand for disciplines
by region
of otal Page e s
B s ness Manage ent
Co ter c ence
Med c ne ealth
ng neer ng echnolog
oc al c ences
at ral c ences Mathe at cs
rts es gn rch tect re
n ron ental t d es arth c ences
d cat on ra n ng
an t es
l ed c ences Profess ons
os tal t e s re orts
o rnal s Med a
gr c lt re orestr
a
Canad an reg ons
tlant c
Br t sh Col a
ntar o
Pra r es
e ec
02/2023 – 01/2024
Programme portfolio
Institutions may have to think about changes in programme
portfolios to attract more international Postgraduate students.
Institutions may also be interested in offering more online
courses.
0
100000
200000
300000
400000
500000
600000
All India China France Iran
Refused
Approved
Source: Government of Canada, IRCC
Approval rate for Study Permits
Applications between January 2019 and December 2021
Cap allocations to provinces
would be based on the number
of student visa applications filed,
not on the number of student
visas actually issued.
Higher education professionals
may be forced to pay more
attention to visa approval rates
when assigning finite offers to
international students –
negatively affecting diversity in
the classroom.
Canada already has the lowest
sa a ro al rate of the ‘ g
fo r’ Anglophone study
destinations, including Australia,
the UK and the US.
Conversion and retention
are more important than ever. This means choosing students who
are more likely to be successful. It also means
improving processes to make sure students have optimal support
to come to campus, and to stay enroled.
13
The implications for Canada would largely depend on how well these changes are
administered. International students are particularly vulnerable, and it is easy to
miss those who fall through the cracks when such broad policy measures are not
effectively implemented.
Given that these measures are intended to improve system integrity and
international student experience in Canada, it is important to supplement these
policy changes with ethical recruitment and retention practices, more streamlined
immigration processes, and targeted labour market and community integration
plans.
Isaac Garcia-Sitton
Executive Director, International Student Enrolment, Education and Inclusion
Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University)
Understanding Canada's international higher education landscape (2024)

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Understanding Canada's international higher education landscape (2024)

  • 2. 2 While this announcement came without warning all we can do is remain calm, as those “bad players” will be forced to change and those who were already providing housing supports and wrap-around services for students just need to keep doing what they are doing. We have our current students to support, so they cannot get lost in the shuffle. Canadian schools need to sound a loud and clear message that we are still open to international students, and graduates from public institutions are still eligible for the PGWP. We still need to be in the market explaining the situation, and that Canada is still open but no longer wide-open, and some areas like Toronto and Vancouver will have less spots. Kim Loeb Executive Director, Professional Applied and Continuing Education The University of Winnipeg PACE
  • 3. Student interest in Canada was already falling before the student visa cap and post- study work visa review news. For example, interest towards British Columbian institutions has taken the biggest hit since 2021 with a drop of 36.7%. Ontario (-17.3%) Prairies (-10.8%) British Columbia (-36.7%) Quebec (-35.5%) Atlantic (-23.5%) Student interest by region - Canada
  • 4. Student interest from India (Canada’s largest source country) was down 40% year over year. Other origin countries have also shown significant decrease of demand for Destination Canada, including Iran and the US. Origin countries 02/2023 – 01/2024
  • 5. While interest in Bachelor’s and Master’s in Canada has dipped, demand for Canadian PHDs (which are exempt from student visa caps) has been rising for some time. 5 Absolute interest in Canadian PHDs
  • 6. Average tuition in Canada, in CAD 2023/24 7076 7573 38081 22061 0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000 35000 40000 Canadian Undergraduate Canadian Graduate International Undergraduate International Graduate Source: Statistics Canada International undergraduate tuition is a huge source of revenue. International students for postgraduate programmes will become more important as the cap on undergraduate student visa erodes university/college finances.
  • 7. $46,433 Average International Undergraduate tuition for Ontario - the highest in Canada. Ontario is expected to be hardest hit by the cap on international undergraduate visas. 7
  • 8. Certain origin countries prefer either universities or colleges in Canada. For example, prospective students from the Netherlands, Iran and Bangladesh are more interested in Canadian universities. Prospective students from Hong Kong, The United States and the United Arab Emirates are more interested in Canadian universities. Preference for Canada’s colleges vs universities
  • 9. In terms of the distribution of interest across Canadian regions, it is noteworthy that certain disciplines may hold more significance in one area compared to another. For instance, while Engineering & Technology garners greater attention in Quebec, Medicine & Health may not be as popular. Relative demand for disciplines by region of otal Page e s B s ness Manage ent Co ter c ence Med c ne ealth ng neer ng echnolog oc al c ences at ral c ences Mathe at cs rts es gn rch tect re n ron ental t d es arth c ences d cat on ra n ng an t es l ed c ences Profess ons os tal t e s re orts o rnal s Med a gr c lt re orestr a Canad an reg ons tlant c Br t sh Col a ntar o Pra r es e ec 02/2023 – 01/2024
  • 10. Programme portfolio Institutions may have to think about changes in programme portfolios to attract more international Postgraduate students. Institutions may also be interested in offering more online courses.
  • 11. 0 100000 200000 300000 400000 500000 600000 All India China France Iran Refused Approved Source: Government of Canada, IRCC Approval rate for Study Permits Applications between January 2019 and December 2021 Cap allocations to provinces would be based on the number of student visa applications filed, not on the number of student visas actually issued. Higher education professionals may be forced to pay more attention to visa approval rates when assigning finite offers to international students – negatively affecting diversity in the classroom. Canada already has the lowest sa a ro al rate of the ‘ g fo r’ Anglophone study destinations, including Australia, the UK and the US.
  • 12. Conversion and retention are more important than ever. This means choosing students who are more likely to be successful. It also means improving processes to make sure students have optimal support to come to campus, and to stay enroled.
  • 13. 13 The implications for Canada would largely depend on how well these changes are administered. International students are particularly vulnerable, and it is easy to miss those who fall through the cracks when such broad policy measures are not effectively implemented. Given that these measures are intended to improve system integrity and international student experience in Canada, it is important to supplement these policy changes with ethical recruitment and retention practices, more streamlined immigration processes, and targeted labour market and community integration plans. Isaac Garcia-Sitton Executive Director, International Student Enrolment, Education and Inclusion Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University)