Since 2011 the number of international students in British Columbia has increased by 61%, with international students contributing $4.2 billion to the provincial economy in 2016. Despite this rapid increase, the international education market has moved forward largely without a provincial strategy. This has meant increased friction in communities for limited affordable rental housing, in institutions for limited course offerings, and for international students themselves who are facing social, cultural, and financial challenges. As a result, addressing this issue was a top priority of the TRUSU Campaigns Committee in their submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services in September.
The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services is an all-party committee that tours the province each fall to hear presentations from community groups and that forms recommendations for the upcoming provincial budget as a result. This body has unanimously voted to include a recommendation to the provincial government for the creation of a province wide strategy for international education in British Columbia.
“We talked to government about the need for the province of BC to ensure that international students are being treated fairly across our province while recognizing the value they bring to our communities and post-secondary institutions,” said Cole Hickson, TRUSU Vice President External. “This report shows that this argument has clearly resonated with the government.”
The Campaigns Committee also made recommendations to create a provincial need-based grants program and for the re-evaluation of TRU’s funding model to reflect how the institution has grown and changed. Both of these recommendations were also reflected in the final report.
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