Proportion of UWindsor international students more than doubled since 2006
Analysis shows Ontario universities target international students for financial gain
In an analysis of 19 universities across Ontario, one researcher found that the University of Windsor has a reliance on international students to pay the bills.
Daniel Je, a recent graduate from the Schulich School of Business at York University, looked at ten years of financial data from the universities to track international and domestic enrolment and tuition costs.
Overall in Ontario, international tuition increase 2.6 times more than domestic tuition and 3.5 times more than inflation from 2006 to 2017.
At the University of Windsor, average domestic tuition increased $108 annually. International tuition annual increase was $860.
"Obviously [there is] a very drastic difference in terms of the types of students the University of Windsor is accepting," said Je. "The University of Windsor has been accepting more and more international students and it shows their reliance on these students for tuition revenue."
Je said his research with OneClass demonstrates the university's intention to capitalize on incoming international students.
"With the international tuition increasing at so much higher rates than domestic tuition, it's pretty clear that the university has been looking toward international students to offset any higher expenses," said Je.
The proportion of international students at the University of Windsor has more than doubled since 2006. Je pointed to changes in higher education being made by the Ontario government as one reason universities would want to target international students.
"Universities are going to take quite a big hit in terms of tuition revenue from domestic students. They have to look for ways to offset that loss. It only makes sense they'll look toward international students."
Je's analysis showed that Windsor, York and Lakehead showed a "reliance" on international students, with all three universities marking a decrease in domestic student enrolment.
"I think there should be [caps] but what they are I'm not exactly sure," said Je. "The fact that international tuition has no cap is quite concerning."
The Ministry of Advanced Education has estimated international enrolments will account for 20 per cent of all post-secondary enrolments by 2022 in Ontario. While there are caps in the province on domestic student tuition, no guidelines exist for international students.
"I think that it's kind of unfair the universities are doing this," said Je, adding that he tried to remain neutral throughout his analysis despite his feelings. "Everyone talks about how much international students are paying and I wanted to see exactly how much more they pay and how it's been changing over time."