Early in Trump era, U of C sees dramatic increase in U.S. applicants
More international students, particularly south of the border, are eyeing up a Canadian education
The University of Calgary says it's received more than twice as many applications this year from American students compared to last year.
That matches a national trend: since the U.S. election of Donald Trump, universities across the country have reported a surge of applications and website traffic from the United States.
Some attribute this rise to fears of the upcoming presidency, but U of C provost and vice president Dru Marshall believes there are other factors at play.
"Many people have asked us, 'Is that related to Trump winning the election?'" she said. "That might be part of it, but the University of Calgary three years ago (also) developed an international strategy."
Marshall says the application numbers are on target with the school's goals to diversify its student body.
This year, not only has the U of C received 130 per cent more applicants from the U.S., according to Marshall, but it also has 15 per cent more applicants from countries overseas.
Marshall said the the Canadian dollar, the quality of education and the "burgeoning reputation of the University of Calgary," are all possible reasons there's more global interest in the school.
'I also don't like Trump'
Nabeel Ahmad, just arrived here from Pakistan to pursue a masters degree in electrical engineering.
He said coming to Canada was a top priority for him and he chose Calgary because it's an "energy hub." The U of C was his school of choice because it offered solid funding and strong academics.
"I also don't like Trump," he adds.
Ahmad said he wasn't about to study in the U.S. under a president who he calls "narrow-minded," so he never applied there.
Brazilian Luisa Felix Dalla Vecchia also said she ruled out applying to the U.S.
"The politics of the States was a factor," she said.
As a PhD candidate, Vecchia and her husband needed a place to comfortably relocate their family for at least four years.
"The United States was not an option for us," she said. The couple agreed she would only apply to Canada or Australia so that their kids could be safe.
Canadians reconsidering U.S. schools
Both she and Ahmad applied to graduate programs before the U.S. election.
In the week following Trump's victory, however, the U of C said online traffic to its "Future Students" page by U.S. sources tripled from the same time the year before.
If there is a Trump-effect, it may also work in the opposite direction.
Sam Hossack, a Canadian who's finishing a master's degree at U of C, plans to pursue a PhD but said she's now wary of studying south of the border.
"I was seriously considering going to the States and then when Trump got elected, I was like, 'maybe I won't write my GRE and enter into that climate'," she said.
Hossack said she's now far more likely to apply to Canadian schools — institutions where competition might now be steeper.
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