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International students driving enrollment growth in Canada

Immigration Study

Preparing for your future can be both a frightening and thrilling stage of your life. However, there are various options and avenues to choose from! To broaden their horizons and experience something better and new, many students opt to study abroad. There are many choices available to students, but many of them choose to Study in Canada. Canada is at the top of the list. Moreover, the number of international students has risen dramatically in Canada over the last few years.

Before COVID-19, the rate of international students enrolling in post-secondary programs was three times the rate of domestic students in Canada. However, the coronavirus pandemic has forced students to study online. Moreover, international students were unable to travel to Canada due to travel restrictions.

Statistics Canada has prepared a recent study on student enrollment pre-pandemic. However, the purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of coronavirus on students. Researchers analyzed the 2018/2019 academic year as the benchmark to measure how enrollment and graduation have been affected. This study is particularly for international students.

That year, more than 2.1 million students enrolled at Canadian universities and colleges. However, it was 1.8% from the 2017 academic session. The growth in students’ enrollment happened due to international students, which went up to 16.2%. However, the enrollment of domestic students dropped by 0.5% in the same year.

Many of the enrollments were in formal programs. However, only 8.4% of enrollments were in courses outside a formal program such as personal interest or continuing education.

Enrollment of International Students More than Triple Within a Decade

According to the report, enrollments of international students grew triple times within a decade. During the 2008 to 2018 academic years, the number of enrollments grew from 101,000 to more than 318,000.

Moreover, Canadian student enrollment in the formal program also grew up to 10.9% in the same period. Due to the higher number of enrollments in Canadian post-secondary programs, the percentage grew from 6.4% to 16.2%. However, there was a 57.2% increase in the total growth of enrollments in all programs.

Canadian Universities Rely More on Tuition for Funding

According to a previous Statistics Canada Report, Canadian universities have increasingly relied on student tuition fees as sources of income. It is due to the revenue decline from provincial governments. However, the share of revenues from the tuition fees grew 4.7% between 2013 and 2018.

International students pay higher tuition fees than domestic students in Canada. The contribution of international students was about 40% of all tuition fees in the 2018 academic session. This revenue was $4 billion across Canadian universities.

Growth in STEM Enrollments

Education systems develop with the needs of the labor market. However, in the past decade, the number of enrollment in mathematics, information sciences, and computer grew by 24.2%. Moreover, these programs accounted for 5% of all enrollments in 2018. The growth in these fields was the strongest for over 10 years.

Jobs associated with the digital economy grew 37% in the labor market of Canada. However, it exceeded the growth rate of the total economy was 8.6% from 2010 to 2017. Moreover, humanities accounted for 11% of total enrollments in 2018, and there was a great decrease in enrollments of these programs.

The total number of students enrolled in these programs dropped over 19.4% over the last decade. Studies also found that humanities and arts graduates were more likely to be overqualified in the respective occupations than peers.

There was a difference in the enrollment rates for humanity when comparing international and domestic students. The enrollments from Canadian students decreased by 25.2% and increased 106.1% for international students.

This increase in international students’ enrollment could be due to initiatives to attract them to Study in Canada. However, this increase is also helpful in response to labor market demands in their home country.

Growth in Enrollment for Business, Public Administration, and Management Programs

The enrollments in business, public administration, management programs grew over the 10 years leading up to 2018. However, international students are showing more interest in these programs.

The percentage of international students who are studying in these fields grew more than 200%. However, the growth in Canadian student enrollment only grew about 7.7%. Moreover, Canadian students showed more interest in health and related fields. 15.2% of the students enrolled in these fields. However, only 5.1% of international students chose these fields in 2018.

Looking to the Future

The long-term influence of COVID-19 on international students is years away. However, Statistics Canada notes that the participation of international students is important for many reasons.

International students are contributing to the local economy as they Study in Canada. They provide a large pool of highly educated people who can get Canadian PR and contribute to the workforce.

Almost one-third of the international students who received bachelor’s degrees in Canada and almost half of the international students who received master’s degrees in Canada became permanent residents in the ten years after getting their first study permit.

Statistics Canada is analyzing these data to plan for recovery in a post-COVID world. These studies will provide helpful insights into the impact of pandemic on students’ enrollments and shifts in study fields.

Read More: Canada employment growth slows in November

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