Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Higher Education

Seeking Internationalization: The State of Canadian Higher Education

Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Higher Education

Seeking Internationalization: The State of Canadian Higher Education

Article excerpt

Introduction

The proliferation of global student mobility and academic cosmopolitanism continues to significantly alter the landscape of Canadian universities. Between 2000 and 2011, foreign student1 populations grew over 99% in Canada, from 89,532 to 178,491-more than doubling domestic university students' 37% growth (Statistics Canada, 2013a, 2013b). Over this period, tuition fees for international students2 have accordingly skyrocketed to address and take advantage of the growth in international students wishing to attend Canadian universities. These high tuition fees have been necessitated (or at least justified) by ongoing budget cuts to public universities (CAUT, 2013; Kiley, 2011; Thompson & Bekhradnia, 2010) and mitigated by the significant educational and social capital of Canadian universities and their ability to attract globally mobile students. Figures 1 and 2 outline the changing revenue streams of Canadian universities between 2000 and 2012. Although federally allotted postsecondary funding as a proportion of GDP has declined considerably since the early 1990s (CAUT, 2013), it has remained generally static since 2000 as a percentage of total university revenues (Statistics Canada, n.d.). The most notable changes have instead come with reductions in non-federal funding to Canadian universities (such as provincial and municipal grants and allocations) and other sources, including donations, investments, endowments, and non-governmental grants. In contrast to these reductions, there have been equally significant increases in revenues generated by student tuition fees. Since 2000, profits from tuition rose five percent as a proportion of total university revenues, from just under four billion to over eight billion dollars in 2012-20133 when adjusted for inflation (see Figures 1 and 2).

A considerable portion of these rising tuition revenues have derived from international students, who typically pay three to four times that of domestic students, with international undergraduate students' annual tuition costs averaging $18,462 in 2012-2013 compared to $5,646 for their Canadian peers (Statistics Canada, 2014a, 2014b). International graduate student tuition costs were also considerably higher, at $13,299 compared to $5,979 for Canadian students. Although changes to the Statistics Canada survey universe make comparisons of pre- and post-2006 tuition data difficult,4 Figure 3 provides a general look at the rising tuition fees for international and domestic students since 2000 (with two sets of data, to account for Statistics Canada's survey changes). Adjusted for inflation, tuition for Canadian undergraduate students remains the lowest, slightly behind Canadian graduate students', while international undergraduate students have experienced the largest and fastest-growing increases, from paying just under $12,000 in 2000-2001 to almost $18,500 in 2012-2013.

Although the differential fee structures for international and Canadian students are in part due to the public subsidization of higher education in the country, they also reveal the ongoing corporatization of higher education as universities search for alternative revenue sources (Altbach & Knight, 2007)-issues that reflect the broader marketization of western universities across various spheres of management, leadership, decision making, (intellectual) property structures, research, and funding (Marginson, 1999). This ongoing neoliberal imagining of Canadian higher education, while certainly not a new phenomenon, can pose challenges for universities regarding the need to balance fiscal pressures with their social and educational responsibilities to students. The extent to which universities have or have not been able to adapt to and accommodate the shifting student demographics in this era of hyper-internationalization remains an area of concern, particularly for some culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students who speak English as a second (L2) or additional language. …

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