During the first reading of the Students’ Union’s policy on internationalization, number of issues has come to the fore that addressed the concerns regarding international students. The reading has been passed with 17 votes in favor, 2 opposed and one abstention. The biggest concern that raised its head during the proceedings was that no student consultation was done to draft these points. As per the suggestion from the Board of Governors Representative Colin Champagne, the policy would most probably expire next year to allow for consultation to be applied in the future draft of the policy.
As per the first reading,
The number of international students in Canada has increased by 148 percent from 2002 to 2011 and the transition from temporary to permanent resident status increased by 16 percent from 2002 to 2011.
The International Differential Fee (IDF) has emerged as a serious threat to affordability and accessibility and it has been recommended that the Government of Alberta should withdraw it from educational institutions. It also limits the geographic diversity of international students. This fee is levied on international students on top of base tuition and is not capped by government regulation. As an end result, an international student ends up paying nearly three times the fees of the domestic students.
It has also come under the panel’s view that International students have less access to merit-based and need-based aid than domestic students and do not have access to provincial or federal government student loans. In addition to it, International students should not bear the burden of an institution’s financial deficits.
In an independent survey it has come to the attention that, integration with domestic students, accessibility of on-campus housing and quality of career-related programming are the top three experiences international students seek in their post-secondary experience. The panel has also discovered that the transfer credit system plays a crucial role in enhancing the quality of internationalization at the University of Alberta.
The amendment in the original policy which was drafted in 2013 will be finalized at the earliest. The new policy will also be drafted with the consent from the International Student’s Association (ISA). The new amended policy also aids the Students’ Union to request for ready availability of statistical information regarding international students.