The president of TRU’s student union made one astute comment during a recent interview with the Kamloops CBC about planned increases in tuition rates for international students.
Dustin McIntyre said B.C. needs more funding for post-secondry education. On that point, he scores full marks. The rest of his assertion that international students are being exploited must be given a little more “perspective,” (which is the polite way of saying utterly ignored).
McIntyre and TRU student Parth Patel told interviewer Shelly Joyce that planned hikes to tuition for international students will see the cost of education rise to nearly $16,000 a year. By comparison, B.C. students pay less than a third of that.
“It’s not about me, it’s about my money. It’s about the money international students bring to TRU,” Patel said. (The full interview can be found on CBC Kamloops’s website.)
McIntyre agreed with Patel, saying TRU seems to view international students as a kind of cash cow. International students take the same classes, he added, and should pay the same rates.
“They use them as revenue generating agents,” McIntyre said. “It’s about dollars and cents.”
The TRU student union will lobby administrators and government, he said, with the hope of having international rates pared back to domestic levels.
Who should make up the difference, should TRU management unexpectedly agree? Provincial politicians, apparently. McIntyre said the government should make up the difference, and perhaps add in a little more for good measure.
“We need more funding for our students, for our universities,” he said.
Agreed. B.C. universities do require more money, as do schools across Canada. So do hospitals, highways and social service agencies, to name just a few.
But there is largely only one pool of money to supply all our public service — the taxpayers, which brings us to the part of McIntyre’s comments that must be given perspective.
International students and their families do not pay Canadian taxes. They come here to study in our institutions because they gain skills they cannot find in their home countries. Once their studies are complete, they take those newly acquired skills and experiences back home.
By contrast, B.C. students and their parents pay significant taxes, money which largely supports the infrastructure that allows all students — domestic and international — to get the educations they need and want.
In the absence of that behind-the-scenes contribution, it’s only reasonable to expect international students to bear the full costs of studying here. Canadian families pay the full cost of their education as well, only in different ways. And their skills stay at home.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.