Windsor

Loonie's fall drawing applicants to University of Windsor

The low loonie can often bring in shoppers from the United States looking for a quick bargain, but it’s also helping draw American students to the University of Windsor.

University says the lower dollar and a competitive tuition is attracting students

Lionel Walsh says the University of Windsor is seeing an increase in students from the United States. (Shaun Malley/CBC)

The low loonie can often bring in shoppers from the United States looking for a quick bargain, but it's also helping draw prospective American students to the University of Windsor.

The school's number of U.S undergraduate applicants has jumped to 44, up from 29 in 2015. That's an increase of 51 per cent. University officials credit this increase in part to the lower Canadian dollar. 

The graduate program also has more American applicants. There are 20 prospective graduate applicants from the United States. Last year there were 16.

"Students [from the United States] get really excited when they realize they'll be paying much lower costs. Their dollar goes further here," explained Lionel Walsh, the university's vice-president for North American recruiting.

"It's always interesting to see them look at our sign and go, 'Oh, Canada, cool.' That's the initial reaction," Walsh said. "Then you see the wheels begin to turn and then they start thinking about numbers."

Price point a draw

American students pay their tuition in U.S. dollars in Windsor, but receive a discount tuition rate. That discount, combined with the exchange rate make it cheaper to study at the University of Windsor instead of institutions in the U.S., Walsh said.

Tuition for American students at the University of Windsor is about $12,000 US, Walsh said.

The average tuition cost at a similar institution in the United States is $15,000, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, which is the statistics agency for the U.S Department of Education.

"The price point is ideal for them," said Marium Tolson-Murty, a high-school recruiter at the University of Windsor who specializes in the United States.

Marium Tolson-Murty is an undergraduate recruiter at the University of Windsor who specializes in students from the United States. (Shaun Malley / CBC)

"When they hear they're paying a reduced rate instead of exorbitant international fees, their eyes just light up," she said.

To help keep the trend going, the university is increasing its footprint in the United States.

It will be holding recruitment events in the Metro Detroit area for the first time and will be making visits to individual high schools.

"The programs are the real drivers," Tolson-Murty said. "But the price point is the cherry on top."

With files from Shaun Malley