U of T recently announced that international PhD students will pay the same fees as domestic PhD students, starting in the fall of 2018. This change represents a huge decrease in fees, albeit one that only benefits international students. This is a beneficial change for international PhD students and long overdue. But with regard to the high cost of international student fees, there’s ample room for improvement.
In an interview with The Medium, Joshua Barker, the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, stated that this news was released during this time because it might get international PhD students to consider attending U of T. From this statement, it seems that U of T is only lowering the fees because they want to attract more international talent. They have yet to say whether they would implement the same change for international undergraduate and postgraduate international students, both of which pay much higher fees than domestic students. For example, at University College for the 2017–2018 year, a domestic undergraduate would have paid around $8,009.42, whereas an international undergraduate student would have paid $47,721.42.
Why attract just PhD students from abroad when you can attract international students at every tier of degree at U of T? To me, it makes a lot more sense to lessen undergraduate fees first in order to retain students already studying at U of T while decreasing their debt.
U of T has not said if they would lower the tuition fees for all international students in the future. For the same reasons that they announced the lowering of tuition fees for international PhD students — to attract them to study at U of T — the university should opt to do the same for the rest of the international students on campus.
Ayesha Tak is a fourth-year student at UTM studying Sociology.