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Students pay a third of the tuition English-speaking counterparts must pay

Photo by Marta Kierkus.

Of the more than 4,000 international students that will be studying at the U of O this year, more than 320 of them are registered in French programs. Last year, there were only 97.

Beginning this year international students who choose to study in a French program at the University of Ottawa will pay the same tuition as Canadian students. Eligible students will pay between $3,000 and $4,000, whereas English-speaking international students pay $11,000 to $12,000.

To be eligible, new international students must be enrolled in at least three courses per semester in French, be officially registered in a French program, and have a high school diploma in French.

The university’s Board of Governors voted to increase fees for international students by 10 per cent last May. Tuition for Canadian students was raised by three per cent.

Caroline Renaud, director of the U of O’s international office, said the increase in enrolment is “extraordinary news.”

However, the CBC reported that some international students are not happy that they have to pay more because they are studying in English. Jason Ji, an international student at the U of O studying in English said the policy was unfair because tuition fees are a large sum of money regardless of where you are from. Another student said that students should not have to pay higher tuition simply because they don’t speak French.

Renaud said she has made an effort to ask students for their thoughts on the tuition difference. “We have not received or felt frustration among the international Anglophone students,” she said.

According to Renaud, most international students come from China, Saudi Arabia, or Nigeria. This year, the U of O has seen an influx of students from French-speaking countries in North and West Africa.

The tuition discount is part of Vision 2020, a set of goals the U of O hopes to reach by the year 2020.

The university aims to have 40 per cent of international students registered in a French program.

“We are slightly below 20 per cent … so we have a lot of work to do in order to reach the 40 per cent level,” said Renaud.

The university has also increased the total number of international students admitted to meet another goal of having nine per cent of the total student population comprised of international students. “We have surpassed that objective,” said Renaud.

The tuition rebate is not unlike those offered by Quebec schools like Concordia and McGill, which offer lowered tuition rates in order to encourage out-of-province and international students to study in French.

The U of O plans to maintain the tuition fee discount for the 2015–16 school year.

 

To read an opinions article on the tuition discount to French-speaking international students, click here.