Some of Canada’s biggest universities are beginning the new school year with a record number of international students on campus.
The steady upswing in foreign applicants began several years ago, then started to spike after the U.S. presidential election in 2016. The challenge for the Canadian government now is to maintain that trend amid competing countries, and to encourage more from the talented pool to stay on as permanent residents. The University of Toronto, Canada’s top draw for international students, enrolled 17,452 international students in undergraduate and graduate programs last year, making up about 20 per cent of the overall student body. That compares to 7,380 international students comprising about 10 per cent of the total student population a decade ago, in 2007.
According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education, some of the main countries the students come from include China, India, South Korea, France, the U.S., Saudia Arabia, Nigeria, Japan and Brazil. Universities also report a recent increase in the number of applicants from Turkey. The upward trend for international students is happening at other universities too, including the University of Ottawa, where the foreign student population of 1,959 nearly tripled to 5,583 in the last 10 years. The number of international students in elementary and high schools has also been on the rise, according to the Canadian Bureau for International Education.