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The Critical Importance of International Students to the University of Waterloo

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Changes made to higher education by Doug Ford will have significant effects on international students who are attending universities in Ontario.

For example, due to the mandatory ten per cent decrease in tuition among domestic students, many Ontario schools could very likely enrol more international students and increased tuition fees for these students to offset the loss in domestic tuition revenue.

Due to the significant changes taking place, we examined international enrolment and tuition data at the University of Waterloo for the past 12 years to help students understand the trends that have been taking place for both domestic and international student enrolment.

This analysis will help UWaterloo students understand what is likely to happen once Ford’s changes are implemented.

Ultimately, our findings show that the University of Waterloo has been relying on international students more with each year; a trend that is likely to continue in the future.

*When a year is stated, it is the beginning of that academic year. (ie. 2006 refers to the 2006-2007 academic year)

*Data was collected mainly from CUDO (Common University Data Ontario) by the Council of Ontario Universities, school documents such as tuition fee schedules and school-specific CUDO data.

*Tuition fee data was based on the tuition cost for an average undergraduate arts and science full-time degree as this is the metric CUDO uses as a common metric among all Ontario universities.

*The tuition fees stated below refer to the tuition cost for the first-year of studies.

The University of Waterloo Tuition Fees

International Tuition Increased 1.5 Times More Than Domestic Tuition and 2 Times More Than Inflation.

the university of waterloo's international tuition fees increased more than domestic tuition fees and the inflation rate from 2006-2017 by a significant amount.

There was a significant difference between the rates at which international tuition and domestic tuition increased, relative to inflation from 2006 to 2017.

The rate of increase in international tuition fees was much greater compared to the rate of increase in domestic tuition at the University of Waterloo.

There was an increase in the average domestic tuition fee for the undergraduate arts and full-time science degree from $5,235 in 2006 (in 2017 dollars) to $6,612 in 2017 which represents 26.31 per cent.

On the other hand, international tuition increased from $19,216 in 2006 (in 2017 dollars) to $26,940 in 2017 indicating a 40.20 per cent increase.

The University of Waterloo has been able to increase tuition at much higher rates than domestic tuition due to the increasing demand for a Canadian education.

The Increase in International Tuition was Six Times Larger Than Domestic Tuition Each Year

international tuition at the university of waterloo has increased by more than six times the amount of domestic tuition on average from 2006 to 2017

There was an increase in international tuition each year that was larger than domestic tuition by six times, on average.

From 2006 to 2017, the average annual domestic tuition increase was $125 while the average annual international tuition increase was $702; a much higher annual increase.

international tuition at the university of waterloo has been steadily increasing while domestic tuition has almost flatlined.

Increases in international tuition were very slight until 2012 where the increases became significantly larger each year.

After 2012, the University of Waterloo's shifting focus toward international students is evident through the significantly larger increases in tuition costs year over year.

After 2014, International Tuition Increased at a Much Higher Rate than Domestic Tuition Each Year

from 2014 to 2017, brock university's international tuition has outpaced domestic tuition by drastic amounts

After 2012, international tuition has been increasing at significantly higher rates each year compared to the slight annual increases in domestic tuition.

Based on annual increase rates, it is evident that the University of Waterloo has recently been heavily relying on international students.

From 2014, there was a huge difference between annual international tuition increases and annual domestic tuition increases each year.

For example, between 2015 and 2016, international tuition increased at a rate 5.6x higher than domestic tuition.

*International Student Fees NOTE:

One important thing to note is that the fees being used to calculate international fees do not include ancillary fees, UHIP, Ontario's International Recovery Fee, etc.

Although ancillary fees are typically equal for both domestic and international students, extra fees such as UHIP and Ontario's International Recovery Fee could add an additional $1000-$2000 to an international student's yearly fees.

Which would further widen the gap between total international and domestic fees.

*Enrolment data is based on both full time and part time students for all levels of degrees including Bachelor’s and 1st Professional Degrees, Master’s Degrees, and Doctoral Degrees.

The University of Waterloo Enrolment

International Enrolment Increased by 257 Per Cent While Domestic Enrolment Increased by Only 27.56 Per Cent From 2006-2017

the university of waterloo international enrolment has skyrocketed relative to domestic enrolment from 2006 to 2017

There was a significant difference in international enrolment compared to domestic enrolment from 2006 to 2017.

From 2147 international students in 2006 to 7658 in 2017, the University of Waterloo student population has increased by almost 257 per cent.

However, from 23763 domestic students in 2006 to 30313 in 2017, the University of Waterloo domestic student population has increased by 27.56 per cent.

International enrolment increased by almost ten times the amount that domestic enrolment increased from 2006 to 2017, showing the university's shifting attention to international students.

The University of Waterloo Student Enrolment Breakdown

university of waterloo international student enrolment has been steadily increasing each year

There was a steady increase in student enrolment each year
university of waterloo domestic student enrolment has increased steadily until 2013 where it dipped and then increased only slightly

There has been a steady increase in domestic student enrolment with a slight dip from 2013 to 2015.

There has been an increase in international student enrolment every year unlike in domestic student enrolment where there has been a slight decrease from 2013 to 2015.

Although the university's increasing reliance on international students is not necessarily clear based on the enrolment breakdown, this reliance is much easier to understand when digging a little deeper into the enrolment data as below.

International Enrolment Increased by 12.30 Per Cent While Domestic Enrolment Increased by Only 2.25 Per Cent on Average

university of waterloo international enrolment increased at a significant rate each year on average while domestic enrolment has essentially stayed the same

On average, international enrolment has been increasing at a strong rate of 12.30% each year relative to the slight increase of 2.25% in domestic enrolment

International student enrolment has been increasing at a rate that is more than five times higher than domestic student enrolment.

university of waterloo international enrolment grew at much higher rates each year than domestic enrolment from 2006 to 2017

International enrolment year over year outpaced domestic enrolment increases every single year from 2006 to 2017.

Based on enrolment increase figures for each year, it is clear that the University of Waterloo has paid much more attention to increasing the number of international students enrolled compared to that of domestic students.

Especially in years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, international enrolment increased by 10-11 per cent while domestic enrolment actually decreased.

The Proportion of International Students has Almost Tripled at the University of Waterloo From 2006 to 2017

proportion of international students at university of waterloo has tripled in 12 years.

The University of Waterloo has a significantly greater proportion of international students in 2017 compared to 2006.

The University of Waterloo's international student proportion has increased from just 9.04 per cent to 25.26 per cent in 12 years, which is also significantly higher than the Ontario average.

It is clearly evident that the University of Waterloo has been enrolling much more international students over the years and the obvious outcome of doing so is significantly higher revenue due to the simple fact that international students pay almost four times as much tuition as domestic students, on average in Ontario.

There has been an increase in the demand for Ontario education among foreign students due to our high quality and accessible schools and with this high demand, the University of Waterloo and other Ontario schools have been increasing tuition fees and enrolment for international students to maximize their potential revenue.

With the implementation of Ford’s changes, the ten per cent tuition fee decrease for domestic students would very likely lead to a significant increase in tuition fee and enrolment for international students.


*Ancillary fees, Incidental fees, UHIP, Ontario’s International Recovery fee, and any other fees were excluded from calculations; only tuition fees were included.

*Enrolment data was collected from CUDO by the Council of Ontario Universities.

*See here for a similar analysis but on Ontario as a whole:
Ontario Universities' Increasing Reliance on International Students


The University of Waterloo CUDO Data

CUDO Tool by the Council of Ontario Universities

CUDO Archives


Ontario Universities' Increasing Reliance on International Students

Students Say Ford's Performance-Based Funding is Misguided

Queen’s University by the Numbers: An Intuitive Financial Analysis For Students

Should Higher-Ed Admissions Be Federally Regulated?

Author: daniel @ oneclass . com


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