Ryerson president: ‘too early’ to say if international student tuition will increase

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By Rhea Singh

It is “too early” to determine what increases, if any, will be made to international student tuition at Ryerson University, according to president Mohamed Lachemi.

International students across Ontario have expressed concerns about their tuition increasing in order to make up the difference in universities’ budgets. This comes after a 10 per cent cut to domestic student tuition was announced by the Doug Ford government in January.

“We have not decided anything, but in some instances we may increase them a little bit in line with peer institutions,” Lachemi said.

The increases would be for new students and not current Ryerson University students, provost Michael Benarroch said at a town hall on budget cuts in February.

“That doesn’t mean they [should] take advantage of our desperation”

Ryerson will lose approximately $30 million because of the tuition cut, The Eyeopener previously reported.

Benarroch also said that to increase revenue, there would need to be an increase in enrollment as seen in the past years. This would primarily focus on domestic students. The university is also planning to enroll 500 more international students, Benarroch said.

First-year computer science and international student Tasmia Masud said she feels that the university prioritizes domestic students over international students.

Masud said international students pay significantly more than domestic students, in addition to living expenses like renting an apartment in Toronto. The increase would only add more financial barriers for international students, she said.

“The government needs to consider that some of us come here to create a better life, giving whatever we have for tuitions,” said Masud. “We are grateful for the opportunities, but that doesn’t mean they [should] take advantage of our desperation.”

Illustration: Alanna Rizza

Similar to Masud, international student Sofía Rodríguez Garzón also expressed her fear in a possible tuition hike, and said she feels post-secondary institutions prioritize domestic students.

“I’m concerned that we’re not going to be taken into account as much when these policies come into action,” said the first-year professional communication student. “Even if we’re not Canadian citizens—or residents—these policies affect us too.”

According to Office of the Registrar’s website, a domestic student in Ryerson’s faculty of arts can pay between $7,641 to $7,856 in tuition per year. An international student in the same program pays over three times as much.

In an interview with The Eyeopener, Lachemi said he came to Canada as an international student 30 years ago, so he understands students’ concerns.

“Of course it’s not up to international students to pay for that gap,” he said.

“Even if we’re not Canadian citizens…these policies affect us too”

At the town hall, Glenn Craney, deputy provost and vice-provost, university planning, said the university is “considering increasing” international tuition fees. He said this is not different than past increases.

Ryerson has consistently increased tuition by five per cent for both undergraduate and graduate international students, according to Benarroch.

He said demand for domestic enrollment at Ryerson has increased by 3 per cent, while international student demand has increased by 12 per cent.

Ryerson has one of the lowest enrollment rates for international students in Ontario, according to Benarroch. Ryerson stands at just under five per cent as of the 2017-18 academic year

In comparison, the University of Toronto has an enrollment rate of 21.3 per cent for international students, according to their student enrolment statistics


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