According to the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, statistics collected from over 250 American colleges and universities showed that applications from international students to American colleges and universities have dropped by 39 per cent in the last year.
Interestingly, Canada has seen a surge in applications by international students.
The largest Canadian University, the University of Toronto has experienced a 20 per cent increase in the number of international applications in the last year, while Wilfrid Laurier University and McMaster University both reported an increase of over 30 per cent.
For a long time, the United States was a much more popular destination for international students. So what changed? Why are students choosing to study in Canada instead?
One answer might be the problematic visa policy in the United States.
The Department of Homeland security has put forward a proposal which would require international students to reapply for their visa every year that they are in school in the United States. In contrast, the Canadian government encourages its students to stay in the country for as long as possible.
On top of that, the Trump administration has stated it plans to impose greater restrictions on international students who want to remain in the US after graduation.
The U.S. visa application system is also a lengthy and complicated process, requiring intense scrutiny, questioning and plenty of waiting. The Canadian visa process is simpler and shorter, making it easier for international students to get a study permit.
A Canadian study permit can be processed in as little as 3 weeks.
Another reason could be cost. Not only is studying in the United States more expensive than the cost of studies in Canada, but financial aid is a lot harder to get as an international student in the United States. Canadian universities are more likely to offer financial aid or scholarships to international students, something which is very rare in the United states.
Tuition costs are only one side of the story – the cost of living is also a lot lower in Canada. International students may be choosing to study in Canada because it’s more affordable.
There’s no denying that U.S. President Donald Trump has affected the way people view the United States.
His stance on foreigners, and especially his criticism of them, is another factor that is leading to international students rejecting the country as a destination for higher education.
Trump is increasingly being seen as encouraging racism and bigotry across the nation and perhaps this is one reason why the upcoming autumn session in Canadian universities has seen an unprecedented surge in applications from international students.
Donald Trump’s policies and especially his travel ban on certain Muslim-majority countries has been seen by many as the demonization of foreigners, which has led to increased racism and with it a renewed fear of gun crime and hate attacks. Perhaps this is why the University of Toronto saw a 20 per cent increase in applications from foreign students this past year alone.
Canada is known for its multiculturalism, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau famously tweeted, in response to President Trump’s threatened ban: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada”.
In stark contrast to what some see as hostile U.S. policy towards foreigners, Canada aims to embrace international students.
By 2022, the Canadian government aims to bring in 450,000 international students to Canada. Currently, there are 353,000 international students studying in the country. Although international students currently make up only 1 per cent of the Canadian population, the number of international students entering Canada has seen a 92 per cent increase since 2008.
Whereas in the United states, the number of international students grew by the slowest rate since 2009. These figures make it clear that international students are increasingly choosing Canada over the United States, which could be due to the policies the Canadian government has adopted to attract international students.
According to the Canadian International Education bureau, more than half of the international student population in Canada seeks to get permanent residence eventually.
International students can work in Canada for up to three years after they graduate on a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), which helps them find work and provides a gateway to permanent residence and, eventually, citizenship. This is absolutely not the case in the United States where no employment after graduation is allowed unless you have been sponsored. The general perception among international students is that foreigners are not welcome in the U.S., and this will undoubtedly affect their employability in the local market.
When you think about the biggest differences between Canada and the United States, Canada’s universal healthcare may come to mind.
Since Canadian healthcare is managed by individual provinces, there are differences in the coverage that they offer. Not all provinces offer coverage for temporary residents like international students. That said, students in provinces that don’t include international students can usually opt-in to their school’s insurance plan, or use one of many affordable private insurance providers.
In the United states, international students are required to apply for health insurance by many schools, often having to pay high premiums for private healthcare.
If you would like to study in Canada as an international student, get started by filling out our free online assessment. A member of our team will be in touch shortly to discuss your options!
Canada Permanent Residence | Canadian immigration 2020
The number of Nigerians immigrating to Canada has tripled in the last five years. Nigeria is now one of the main source countries of Canada’s […]
Canadian immigration 2020
The Lebanese population in Canada is one of the fastest growing demographics. In 2001, there were nearly 144,000 Lebanese in Canada. According to the 2016 […]
Work in Canada
Many foreign nationals look to Canada as a land of opportunity, hoping to secure a comfortable life for themselves and their families. One of the […]
Canadian Immigration 2017
Considering making the move across the border from the U.S. to Canada? You’re not alone. In 2019, more than 10,000 U.S. residents made the move […]
Family Sponsorship | International Students
There are a lot of great benefits to being an international student in Canada, including the ability to bring family with you while you study. […]
Canadian immigration 2020
In spite of the coronavirus pandemic, Canada has issued more ITAs through Express Entry this year than any other. So far, the Canadian federal government […]
Canadian immigration 2020
As Trump continues to restrict the number of employment-based immigrant visas, many Indian nationals are choosing to trade their jobs in the U.S. for the […]
Canada Work Permit
This week, the Trump administration issued a new executive order restricting economic immigration to the U.S. for the rest of the year. These types of […]