Rising tuition at the University of Saskatchewan is proving to be a barrier to international students’ education now more than ever.
David Ogunkanmi, international student representative on the University Students’ Council, said that high tuition fees are a top concern for students. He said that all students are affected by tuition and fee increases.
“It is well known that student debt is high and creates an ongoing concern, well after graduation, for anyone with loans (either personal or through banks),” he wrote in an email to the Sheaf.
Yashwanthan Manivannan has attended the U of S since 2011 and said international students have another reason to worry: they pay 2.6 times the amount of tuition that a Canadian student pays.
The high tuition rates bring no additional services and instead come with pressure and stress, Manivannan said.
“If tuition keeps increasing we are forced to work more, which affects our academics,” Manivannan said.
Maximillian Krimm, another international student, agrees that the amount of tuition that they pay is a prominent issue.
“I think the biggest issue that I see is the amount of tuition we pay and what we receive in return,” Krimm said.
Based from his own experience, Krimm believes that international students do not receive enough encouragement to attend the U of S. When he emailed various admission offices, he said it often took days for him to receive a reply and that they were often brief and unspecific.
“It just felt like the university was not interested in me,” Krimm said.
Although international students make the U of S a more globalized campus, Krimm said international students often have issues with not fitting in. Though they may come for the educational opportunities, international students bring a cultural personality to the campus.
Krimm said if students go back to their home countries and create change or are successful, that the reputation of the U of S will increase. However, he said high tuition could easily undermine the university’s prestige.
To address issues of international students’ interest in the U of S, Krimm suggests that more representatives should be sent out to recruit students. He said the additional expense would be worth it because he would not have known about the U of S had he not had internet access
Ogunkanmi suggests a new method for dealing with tuition that would be beneficial to all students: setting a fee for a distinct period of time in which the student could be able to complete their degree — such as five years.
“As long as the student is able to complete their degree within the average time, they would know the tuition and fees they would be paying and could budget and plan accordingly,” he said, adding that this could be beneficial for both domestic and international students.
On-campus employment could also be more student-centered, Ogunkanmi said. He suggests an increase to students’ wages in order to reflect their increasing fees. If jobs cannot be provided at the U of S, Ogunkanmi would like to see opportunities for meaningful employment be made available elsewhere. Those who are new to Canada — or Saskatoon — could benefit from additional resources to help find part-time work.
Photo: Jordan Dumba/Photo Editor