International students used as 'cash cows,' prof says

A University of Windsor professor claims some of the school's students are "functionally illiterate" and that international students are "cash cows" for the school.

Pamela Milne of University of Windsor also says some students 'functionally illiterate'

International students at the University of Windsor pay up to $18,000 for two semesters of education. (CBC News)

A University of Windsor professor is accusing the school of accepting international students because they're "cash cows."

On average, international students pay between $15,000 and $18,000 for two semesters at the University of Windsor. That's why international students are so important, according to Pamela Milne, women's studies professor.

"The universities are really strapped, and international students seem to be one of the cash cows," said Milne, who retires at the end of the school year. "By getting lots of them, they pay a lot more money and, of course, you'd want to keep them."

When Sharia Rahman came to Canada five years ago, he had to pass an English language test before he could apply to a Canadian university.

"Just to make sure that when you come here, you understand the communications that you will be going through in colleges and universities," Rahman said.

Rahman went to English schools all his life in Kuwait, so he never considered cheating on his test. But, he can understand why some students would.

"To be honest with you, $7,000 is nothing compared to what they pay every semester. When I was a student I paid $12,000 a semester," he said.

By the time he graduated, Rahman's parents had paid more than $80,000 to the University of Windsor.

Trouble with English

Milne also claims several of her students, both international and domestic, are "functionally illiterate."

Milne made the statements after police in London, Ont., charged three people who allegedly used fake passports to write English proficiency exams for foreign students who paid them $7,000 for the service.

"I'm seeing a lot more students that I would essentially regard as functionally illiterate," Milne said of both domestic and international students. "I'm seeing students that have no concept of what a sentence is. They can't write. They have difficulty reading. They can't understand the articles that are assigned to them."

Clayton Smith, who is vice provost, students and international, at the University of Windsor said international students perform well and get the help they need.

"We do a pretty good job here," Smith said. "Most international students meet the same requirements as Canadian students."

Always an issue

Smith did say that international students are "confronted with different challenges" than Canadians.

"Language is always going to be a issue," he said.

Smith said international students have access to the Centre for English Language Development, which offers English classes for up to 25 hours a week.

"We work them hard."

Smith said 92 per cent of first-year international students who attend the centre return for a second year of school.
He said 83 per cent of Canadian students, in general, return for a second year.