Nova Scotia university limits international student enrollment after overly successful recruitment

SYDNEY, NS – Cape Breton University says it is limiting enrollment in a popular business program because the school is not equipped to handle the recent influx of international students.

The university is limiting admissions to its two-year post-baccalaureate degree in business analytics – a program favored by international students – from May 2023 “as part of the deliberate strategy of managing to lower enrollment in this program “, Gordon MacInnis, vice president of finance and operations, said in an interview Thursday.

Based in Sydney, Nova Scotia, the university held classes for the program in the fall semester at Cineplex theaters downtown — about nine kilometers from campus — due to a lack of space for the program. ‘education. All but two of the 2,681 people enrolled in the post-baccalaureate program are international students, and 85% of these international students are from India.

The recent surge in international registrations follows targeted recruitment in India that began in 2018 and what MacInnis called “COVID referrals.” The COVID-19 pandemic, he said, led to many students postponing their studies at university when it was unsafe to travel, only to enroll when health restrictions were lifted. lifted.

But the overall increase in the number of foreign students is due to the school’s years of effort to recruit from abroad.

“Essentially, the strategy for many, many years has been to try to replace the expected and known decline in the local domestic market with international students,” MacInnis said.

« As the domestic market continued to decline, fast forward to 2018, we made a major breakthrough in India and that was really the genesis for the major momentary uptick we saw. »

An October report from the Association of Atlantic Universities found that this fall nearly 4,000 international students were enrolled at Cape Breton University out of approximately 5,900 total students. This amounted to around 2,400 international students in 2021, when the school had around 4,200 students. In 2017, the university had fewer than 900 international students out of approximately 2,600 students in total.

International students at Cape Breton University pay between $18,915 and about $19,580 per year for their education, about double the $9,810 paid by Canadian students.

Damanpreet Singh, president of the students’ union at Cape Breton University, said in an interview on Thursday that he fears international students are fleeing the university due to Sydney’s lack of affordable housing and shortages of teaching spaces on campus.

« You have to pay attention to this situation, otherwise no one will stay here, » Singh said.

Singh, who is from India, said since moving to Sydney in May 2021, the typical rent he and his friends pay has risen to around $500 a month for a room starting at $350 a month. . « And some owners ask to be paid $700 or $800 for a single room, which is very expensive. »

« And then how is it possible to pay if they don’t have a job, and because this town is small, it’s very difficult to find a job here. »

In addition to housing difficulties, Singh said some international students are frustrated with the lack of space on campus. He said they felt like they were missing out on the full college experience because their classes were so far from school.

John Nadeau, the dean of the university’s business school, said in a November interview that classes for 90 of the 146 in-person sections of the post-baccalaureate business program were held in the center’s business theater complex. -city.

MacInnis said he’s heard from international students that finding accommodation is a challenge. However, he said there was unused student housing on campus. He said 112 students received written offers to enroll in one of the 70 dormitories available in January, and only four places were taken.

Singh said many students withdraw from dormitory because of the high cost and the inability to cook in a dorm. The cheapest residence option costs $2,240 per semester, and all dorm students must purchase the meal plan, which costs an additional $2,835.

Due to the significant costs international students already pay in tuition and fees, Singh said he understands why some students feel they have been taken advantage of by the university.

« We pay a lot of fees and we don’t get the proper environment to study here. »

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on December 30, 2022.

— By Lyndsay Armstrong in Halifax.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of Meta and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.


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