From 2010 to 2019, the number of international students attending Canadian public post-secondary institutions rose from 142,200 to 388,800. Presently, there are over 800,000 international students studying at various levels across Canada. This significant increase prompted concerns about its potential impact on domestic students. However, a study conducted by Statistics Canada revealed a positive correlation between domestic and international enrollment. The study specifically examined programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) as well as Business, Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and Education (BHASE). The findings indicated that the heightened international enrollment did not negatively affect domestic enrollment at the institutional level. Notably, a positive relationship was observed in STEM and BHASE courses, where an increase in international enrollment coincided with a rise in domestic enrollment. This trend was more pronounced in BHASE programs within post-secondary non-tertiary and short-cycle tertiary programs.Listen to this article.
Insights from a Statistics Canada Study
The surge in the international student population in Canada has prompted concerns about its potential impact on domestic student enrollment. However, a study by Statistics Canada suggests a positive relationship between domestic and international student enrollment at Canadian institutions. The study, focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and Business, Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and Education (BHASE) programs, revealed that the overall increase in international student enrollment did not negatively affect domestic enrollment at the institution level.
Notably, a positive correlation was found in STEM and BHASE programs, indicating that as international enrollment in these courses rose, so did domestic enrollment. This correlation was particularly strong for BHASE programs in post-secondary non-tertiary and short-cycle tertiary programs. The study introduced the theory of cross-subsidization, suggesting that Canadian educational institutions might use higher international student fees to support the cost of teaching domestic students.
While the study provides valuable insights, it acknowledges limitations, including the specific time period covered and demographic changes during the 2010s. The decrease in the domestic young adult population and reduced provincial funding may have contributed to the observed trends. Looking ahead, with the projected increase in the young adult population, there may be a shift in the relationship between domestic and international student enrollments in the next decade.
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