The Growing Reliance on International Students at Wilfrid Laurier University

Changes by Doug Ford that are to be implemented in the coming academic year will have a significant effect on international students attending universities in Ontario.

For example, due to the ten per cent decrease in domestic student tuition which is to be implemented this year, many Ontario schools are seeking more international students and increasing their international tuition fees to offset the expected decrease in revenue.

With changes about to happen to the environment of international students in Ontario, we analyzed tuition and enrolment data for the last 12 years at Wilfrid Laurier University to help incoming international students and domestic students understand what is likely to happen with the implementation of Ford’s changes.

Our findings indicate that Wilfrid Laurier University is more heavily relying on international students compared to domestic students as the years go by.

*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.

Wilfrid Laurier University Tuition Fees

International Tuition Increased by 2.2 Times More Than Domestic Tuition and 2.8 Times More Than Inflation 

International tuition at Wilfrid Laurier increased much more than domestic tuition increase and inflation rate in 2006-2017.

International tuition had a significant difference compared to domestic tuition and the inflation rate from 2006-2017.

On average, the domestic tuition fee for the first year of an undergraduate arts science degree at Wilfrid Laurier University increased from $5,221 in 2006 to $6,536 in 2017, representing a 25.20 per cent increase.

On the other hand, international tuition for the same degree increased from $15,571 in 2006 to $24,104 in 2017, which represents a 54.80 per cent increase. 

Wilfrid Laurier University has raised international tuition at a much higher rate compared to domestic tuition increases to maximize revenue from international students since there is an increasing demand for Canadian education among foreign students.

International Tuition Increased Four Times More than Domestic Tuition Each Year

Wilfrid Laurier increased, each year, international and domestic tuition by $538 and $132, respectively.

On average, every year, the cost of international tuition increased at a rate that was four times higher than the rate at which domestic tuition increased.

From 2006 to 2017, the average annual domestic tuition increase was $132 while the average annual international tuition increase was $538.

In terms of the dollar value, Laurier University has been increasing its international tuition at much higher rates than domestic rates to try and maximize the potential revenue earned from international students.

The tuition costs at Wilfrid Laurier increased at faster rates for international students than for domestic ones.

The numbers shown are adjusted for inflation in 2017 dollars. Tuition data for the year 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 were unavailable for both domestic and international tuition. 

Although tuition data was not available for every year, trends can still be seen in the tuition increases for both international and domestic students.

While international tuition has increased by significant amounts each year, domestic tuition increased by only a slight amount each year.

The significant difference in the trends of international tuition and domestic tuition over the years shows that Wilfrid Laurier University intends to continue raising international tuition costs to earn even more revenue from incoming international students.

*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.

Wilfrid Laurier University Enrolment

International Student Enrolment has Increased by 329 Per Cent While Domestic Enrolment Increased by Only 30 Per Cent from 2006 to 2017

In 12 years, Wilfrid Laurier increased international and domestic tuition fees by 329.03 and 30.21 per cent, respectively.

There was a drastic difference between the rate of increase in the enrolment of international students and domestic students from 2006 to 2017.

From 279 in 2006 to 1197 in 2017, international student enrolment has increased by 329 per cent.

On the other hand, domestic enrolment increased only from 13,996 in 2006 to 18,224 in 2017 which represents a 30 per cent increase.

This effectively means that international student enrolment from 2006 to 2017 increased 11 times more than the rate at which domestic student enrolment increased.

Wilfrid Laurier University Student Enrolment Breakdown

The number of international students in Wilfrid Laurier increased from 279 in 2006, to 1197 in 2017.

 There was a steady increase in international student enrolment each year.
The number of domestic students in Wilfrid Laurier increased from 12,996 in 2006, to 18,224 in 2017.

There was a steady increase in domestic student enrolment from 2006 to 2012 where it started to stagnate.

Looking at the enrolment figures for international and domestic students from 2006 to 2017, Wilfrid Laurier University has shifted its attention more to growing international enrolment each year rather than domestic enrolment.

Each Year, International Student Enrolment Increased by 15.24 Per Cent While Domestic Student Enrolment Increased by Only 2.47 Per Cent, on Average

Each year at Wilfrid Laurier, the enrolment of international and domestic students increased by 15.24 and 2.47 per cent, respectively.

There has been a steady increase in international student enrolment
every year while domestic student enrolment has been fluctuating year after year.

International student enrolment increased by 15.24 per cent every year while domestic student enrolment has only increased by 2.47 per cent.

Essentially, international enrolment grew more than six times more than the rate at which domestic enrolment grew every year.

The annual international enrolment surpassed domestic enrolment most years in 2006-2017, at Wilfrid Laurier University.

From 2009, there was a significant difference between yearly international enrolment increases compared to domestic enrolment.  

Looking at the enrolment from year to year, it is evident that Wilfrid Laurier University has paid much attention to growing the population of international students compared to domestic students.

In the years 2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015, domestic enrolment actually decreased while international enrolment skyrocketed from the previous year; with the increase from 2012-2013 being 30.54 per cent.

The Proportion of International Students at Wilfrid Laurier University Tripled from 2006 to 2017

The proportion of international students at Wilfrid Laurier University tripled in 12 years.

There were MUCH more international students enrolled at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2017 than in 2006.

The proportion of international students increased from 1.99 per cent in 2006 to 6.57 per cent in 2017 which is a clear indication of the continued reliance of Wilfrid Laurier University in international students for the last 12 years. 

From the analysis of data over the past 12 years, it is evident that Wilfrid Laurier University has been increasingly reliant on international students as a major source of revenue.

There has been an increase in the demand for Ontario’s education among foreign students because of its quality, accessibility and the Canadian dollar being cheaper compared to competing countries.

Due to this, the majority of Ontario schools have taken advantage of the situation by increasing international tuition fees and international enrolment at rates much higher compared to domestic rates.

The implementation of Ford’s changes like the ten per cent tuition decrease for domestic students and the likely response of an international tuition hike is something definitely worth noting for current and potential 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


Wilfrid Laurier University 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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