By Julieanne Acosta, August 24 2022—
Though tuition increases have affected many students across Alberta, international students face significant increases in their tuition for the same schools.
According to Statistics Canada, during the 2020 to 2021 school year in Alberta, undergraduate international students paid on average $27,188 in comparison to the $6,111 that Canadian undergraduate students paid.
On March 21, Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides tweeted to his followers that the United Conservative Party (UCP) is ensuring that students have access to higher education.
“Tuition in Alberta remains below the national average,” the tweet reads. “[…] we are ensuring students have access to world-class education and we are providing increased financial supports so all Albertans can access [this education].”
The national average from the previous school year for Canadian undergraduates was $6,693 while international undergraduates’ average was $33,623.
Canadian undergraduates in Alberta saw on average a $456 increase in their tuition in the following 2021 to 2022 school year, whereas undergraduate international students paid almost double with an average of an $826 increase on top of the extra $21,077 that they already pay to attend university in Alberta.
In a statement to the Gauntlet, Students’ Union (SU) President Nicole Schmidt wrote the importance of looking toward the upcoming provincial election.
“The SU firmly believes that international student tuition should be regulated, just as it is for Canadian students. The SU has made this clear to the university and to the provincial government,” wrote Schmidt. “As we head toward a provincial election next Spring, the SU will be looking to advocate on a number of student issues, including international student tuition, and pushing Alberta’s political parties to commit to better support post-secondary education in Alberta. As we launch this effort in the fall, we will be engaging students on these issues and we look forward to hearing their stories and continuing to advocate on issues that matter most to students.”
Sam Blackett, Nicolaides’ press secretary, told CBC News that regulations on international students’ tuition are not being considered.
“The ministry expects public institutions to set international student tuition at a cost-recovery level or above, as international students and their families have not contributed substantially to funding post-secondary education through years of taxation,” said Blackett.