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Overseas Student Enrollment in Canada Rises

MARCH 5, 2018

The number of international students at Canadian colleges and universities has risen by 11 percent in the past year according to Universities Canada.  The increase between Fall 2016 and Fall 2017 brings the total number of full-time and part-time overseas college students in the country to 192,000. The figures come from a series of surveys conducted by the Association of Atlantic Universities, the Bureau de Cooperation Interuniversitaire , the Council of Ontario Universities, and Universities Canada, and their respective member institutions.  

Universities Canada said that almost all provinces across the country reported a rise in international student enrollment.  British Columbia leads the way with a 15.8 percent jump.  Several universities have reported double-digit increases in applications to graduate programs, particularly since the United Kingdom's' Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.  The Canadian government also has an ambitious plan to increase the international students to 450,000 by 2022.

These figures represent a starkly different picture from international enrollment in the United States.  The Institute of International Education's 2017 Open Doors report found that the number of international students in the U.S. rose by just 3 percent between 2015-16 and 2016-17--the smallest rate of growth since 2009-10.  Meanwhile, the number of new international students enrolling in U.S. higher education institutions declined by 7 percent between 2016 and 2017.

A recent report from the Study Group on Global Education, an independent group of Canadian policy experts, private sector leaders and university presidents, calls for the government to set a national target of one quarter of all Canadian postsecondary education students going abroad within 10 years.

While only a small number of Christian colleges and universities was included in research conducted by Universities Canada, I believe this international student population increase is also taking place in Christ-centered higher education across Canada.  Similarly, Christian colleges and theological seminaries continue to advance the cause of world missions with many of their graduates serving outside of North America.

Larry J. McKinney
Higher Education Consultant
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