International students were enrolling in post-secondary institutes in Canada at three times the rate of domestic Canadian students before the Coronavirus pandemic hit Canadian shores.
There was a recent survey conducted by Statistics Canada that focused on student enrolment pre-pandemic as a way to evaluate the coronavirus impact on students. In this survey, data from the 2018-19 academic year was used as a benchmark to figure out how enrolment and graduation, have affected international students.
In the survey, it was found that there was an increase in the total number of students who had enrolled at Canadian universities and colleges. The increase was around 1.8 percent from the 2017 academic session with around 2 million students enrolled in the year 2018. It was also found that the major credit for this gain in enrolment was due to international students as the enrolment rate of international students went up by a whopping 16.2 percent whereas there was a drop of 0.5 percent in the enrolment rate of domestic students.
It was also seen that International student enrolments tripled within a decade as in between 2008 and 2018 academic years, the enrolment rate for international students increased from 100,000 enrolments per year to around 320,000 enrolments per year.
This gain in enrolment rate was a result of international student’s enrolment at Canadian post-secondary institutes which increased from 6.4 percent in 2008 to 16.2 percent in 2018.
Enrolment growth in fields such as business, management, and public administration programs increased due to international students between the years 2008 and 2018. The percentage of domestic students studying in these fields grew by just 7.7 percent whereas the percentage of international students studying in these fields increased by more than 200 percent.
International enrolment is a major source of income for Canadian institutes and it also contributes indirectly to Canada’s economy. International students are required to pay significantly high tuition fees when compared to their domestic counterparts. In the 2018 academic year, international students contributed $4 billion to Canadian universities due to high enrolment rates and high tuition fees.
International students also contribute to Canada’s local economy while they study as they provide skilled labor to Canadian employers, thus indirectly contributing to Canada’s economy simultaneously.