Lakehead University says loss of 100 Saudi students largely offset by other recruitments
Vice provost says over 60 countries represented at Lakehead's campuses
The loss of about 100 international students from Saudi Arabia will have an impact on Lakehead University's bottom line, according to a school official but will be mitigated by diverse recruiting from dozens of other countries.
New and returning students from Saudi Arabia were expected to attend classes at both the university's Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses during the coming school year but a recent diplomatic spat between Saudi Arabia and Canada resulted in the Saudi government announcing it's moving thousands of its scholarship students out of Canadian schools.
"We've done well the last year or two recruiting new students from a large number of countries," said James Aldridge, the university's vice provost: international. "So we'll definitely be able to fill the gaps, but it's certainly unfortunate and a little frustrating at this point."
International students generally pay higher tuition than their domestic counterparts.
The roughly 100 students from Saudi Arabia are part of the approximately 1,500 international students studying at Lakehead's Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses, Aldridge said. Those students come from over 60 countries, he added.
"We don't have as many students from any single country as lots of universities in Canada do, so we've done fairly well in terms of diversity that way," he said.
"We continue to diversify and recruit from good markets around the world."
Aldridge added that the university's total population of full-time students is about 9,000.
The presence of many cultures on campus also enriches the experience of students studying at Lakehead, he said.
"It provides our own domestic students with an opportunity to be in class with and exchange ideas with students that they otherwise probably wouldn't have a chance to meet," he said.
"It's part of meeting our broader internationalization goals [at] the university."