Note From the Editor
In Canada, two important developments hit the news this week: Ontario extends the tuition freeze for public colleges and universities despite opposition from HEIs citing cost pressures, while the federal court rules that international students no longer need to pay tuition to be eligible for a study permit.
In the US, qualified F-1 students can now request a premium processing upgrade as part of ongoing efforts to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the immigration system. And while the country’s law programs remain appealing to foreign learners, the prevailing gun violence at home emerges as a growing worry among students and their families.
Read more about intled in the UK, Australia, Germany, and Morocco in this edition of MSM Reporter.
Qualified F-1 students can now request a premium processing upgrade, according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which highlighted the expansion of the service as part of its efforts to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the immigration system. The availability of premium processing for certain F-1 students will streamline the immigration experience to many international students. The F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) OPT extensions who have a pending Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization will be eligible for the said services. In January, the Biden administration expanded the premium processing of some of the categories of green card applicants and visas, particularly those related to training foreign students.
For three years in a row, Ontario has extended a tuition freeze to public colleges and universities in the province as well as formed a panel to enhance the financial sustainability of the post-secondary sector. In a news release, College and Universities Minister Jill Dunlop said the freeze will continue for the 2023-24 school year for students in Ontario while allowing post-secondary institutions to increase their fees for domestic out-of-province students by up to 5 percent. Post-secondary institutions considered the freeze a hit to their ability to respond to escalating cost pressures. Steve Orsini, president and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities, warned that the financial pressures for universities will continue to grow, further eroding the sector’s ability to support students.
The Federal Court in Canada has ruled that international students in the country are no longer required to show proof of full or partial tuition fees payment while applying for study permits – as long as they have sufficient income to pay the tuition later. The said decision comes after an Iranian student’s application for a study permit was refused by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on the grounds that the student had not paid tuition. The waiving of tuition requirements for international students applying for student permits emerge as a relief for students who are unable to cover the expenses when they submit their permit application. In 2022, IRCC issued a record 551,405 study permits, an increase of 115.64 percent from 2020, when 255,695 were issued.
Karan Bilimoria, president of the UK Council on International Student Affairs (UKCISA), has strongly recommended that students should not be included in net migration figures of the UK amid concerns over the government planning to restrict international student visas. “According to the UN net migration figures, anyone who lives in a country for more than a year is a migrant. However, most of the countries that are our competitors for international students exclude them when they report domestic net migration figures,” Bilmoria said, arguing that international students in the UK should be excluded from the count since most of them return to their home countries after their education. The industry executive also expressed support for the two-year post-study work (PSW) visa granted to international students since July 2021, citing conversations with education leaders from the likes of Australia, US, and New Zealand for whom the visa looks “very attractive.”
June 30 has been dubbed by international student solicitor Sean Stimson from Redfern Legal Centre as D-Day, when a remote study from abroad would no longer be allowed. This will also be the same day when the Department of Foreign Affairs slaps new restrictions to international students, limiting them to 48 hours of work each fortnight. A rule restricting international students to work 40 hours per fortnight was previously canceled to address labor shortages during the pandemic. On July 1, the federal government announced it would be reinstating a cap at 48 hours per fortnight, shortly followed by warnings from the country’s top companies on potential “significant disruption” in sectors like retail and hospitality given current labor market conditions.
Recent figures from the Wissenschaft weltoffen 2022 report by DAAD and the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW) revealed a growing cohort of international students in Germany, where there were approximately 325,000 international students in the winter semester of 2020-21 in the country or an increase of over 70 percent in a decade. The report also pointed out that the number of international students at German institutions continued to rise despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The five leading countries of origin in 2020-21 were China (40,122 students), followed by India (28,542 students), Syria (16,931 students), Austria (13,612 students), and Russia (10,573 students).
Mimoza Shala, a prosecutor in the Eastern European nation of Kosovo working on domestic violence cases, studies in the LL.M. program at Wake Forest University’s School of Law in North Carolina. The school has partnered with the US state and justice departments for the last decade to train legal professionals from Kosovo. International students comprised 79% of Master of Laws (LL.M) program students at American law schools, based on a 2020 study conducted by the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University. According to reports on international higher education, thousands of legal professionals worldwide would flock to the US each year to take part in advanced legal training. Oftentimes, they opt to attend the LL.M. program, where they would learn about the US government, its legal system, as well as international legal issues.
Education secretary Gillian Keegan has publicly opposed the plan of the Home Office to cut migration by targeting international students, adding the financial boost from these overseas students to British universities is greatly valuable. The official said the university sector is something to be proud of in Britain amid home secretary Suella Braveman mulling over reductions in the number of international students entering the UK or changing their terms of stay in the country. The number of students enrolling for undergraduate and postgraduate courses at UK universities rose to 680,000 in 2022, higher than the government’s 600,000 target and representing about one-fifth of all students in higher education.
During a parliamentary hearing, representatives from leading universities in Australia have expressed their anticipation of student enrollments and revenues recovering to levels seen before the pandemic by 2025. To support the economy, these universities are making investments in scholarships and offshore campuses in order to attract more students. It is expected that there will be a rise in education exports, which could potentially increase the gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.4 percentage points. Chinese students are likely to contribute to the labor supply and general domestic demand, thus further boosting the economy.
Reports from outside of the US often express shock and bewilderment at the frequency of gun violence in the country. This has prompted international students and their families to ask questions about the safety of studying in the country, with surveys and anecdotes suggesting that physical safety is a growing concern. American colleges are warned that they must address the issue, or they risk losing international enrollment. Following a week that saw seven mass shootings, William Gertz, chair of the American Institute for Foreign Study, tweeted in November: “It’s time we accept the fact that mass shootings in the US are an #intled [international education] issue.”
Claire Pontefract, a second-year Dalhousie University student, had a brush with anxiety when she and her roommates were unable to renew their lease, as thousands of Nova Scotia students faced a housing crisis. The Nova Scotia government recently announced plans for a student housing strategy, but advocacy group Students Nova Scotia wasn’t too optimistic and said the situation is only getting worse. Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s University are in preliminary talks with the government about building new housing, while King’s College and Mount Saint Vincent University recognize the limited capacity in residences but have no immediate plans to build new housing.
A total of 23,411 foreign students were enrolled in Moroccan schools in 2021, with 19,256 coming from African countries. Morocco has made strengthening cooperation with its African partners a priority and is sharing its expertise in areas such as food security, counterterrorism, and education. The country’s phosphate giant OCP, which offered 550,000 metric tons of fertilizers to tackle food security challenges in Africa and Morocco, also reaffirmed its commitment to promoting South-South cooperation on the continent. The partnership between Moroccan and African universities spans different fields including training, joint research, and development projects.
Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) is a private graduate institution located in Claremont, California in the United States. It was founded in 1997 and is a member of the Claremont Colleges Consortium. KGI offers a variety of graduate programs in the life sciences and healthcare fields, including biotechnology, genetic counseling, and pharmaceutical science. The institution is known for its interdisciplinary approach to education, combining science, engineering, business, and ethics to prepare students for careers in the rapidly evolving biotech and healthcare industries. KGI is also recognized for its emphasis on experiential learning, providing students with opportunities to work on real-world projects and engage with industry professionals.
The Criminal and Social Justice program at the College of the Rockies covers a broad range of topics, including criminology, legal issues, ethics, social inequality, and cultural diversity. Students have the option of taking classes either in-person or online, making it a flexible and accessible program. The curriculum is focused on hands-on learning, and students are given opportunities to engage in practical work, such as conducting research projects, working on case studies, and participating in field trips. Graduates of the program are well-prepared for a variety of careers in the justice and social work fields, including positions in corrections, border services, social work, victim services, and more.
MSM Reporter is collated by a globally spread team of MSM and is published every Thursday.