The high price paid by international students to study in Ontario

There are hundreds of thousands of international students in Canada, and they are paying a steep price to study here.

An international student looking at her fee invoice.

According to Statistics Canada, Ontario has the highest average tuition for international students (undergraduate). As seen in the chart below, over the past five years, international tuition fees have increased by 38.5%. Tuition for international students in Ontario is $10,000 more than in Quebec.

Vicky Lu, an international student of Rotman commerce said, “The tuition fee in my first year was roughly $50,000. Now I’m a fourth-year student and the tuition for this year is about $60,000. My rent for one month is about $1,200, the living expenses for a month is $1,200, and a textbook is about $200. So it’s very expensive.”

International students are paying four times the average tuition fee compared to domestic students and it’s increasing every year. So why is it so expensive?

Ontario domestic student fees decreased 10% in 2019-2020. 

Qasim Latin, a student worker in international students’ support at Ryerson university said, “We have a lot of services that are available for international students, like the international students’ support office and we have social support for first-year international students. And all of these services are already paid in their tuition fee.”

The international office of Ryerson University

Another factor is provincial regulations. Tuition fees for local students cannot increase more than a certain limit each year, but the international tuition fee is not regulated.

Meric Gertler, the president of U of T, during an interview with The Varsity, said because of the fact that neither the federal nor the provincial government will provide funding for non-domestic students of colleges and universities, schools and institutions have to take this into consideration when determining the tuition fee for international students.

Yan Wu, a manager of International Business Development said, ” I think inflation is the biggest reason for the international tuition fee increase. And there’s less funding from the government and more investment in hiring qualified professionals. All of these can cause the tuition fee to rise.”