Dependent on foreign students, Canada universities risk revenues as vaccines lag

By: | February 16, 2021

Canadian universities are facing a financial crunch amid the COVID-19 crisis, as a drop in foreign enrollment and shuttered campuses dent the bottom line and the country’s slow vaccine rollout weighs on the next school year.

Public universities have become increasingly dependent on foreign students, who pay far higher tuition than domestic students, to boost their profits. International enrollment jumped 45% over the last five years, advocacy group Universities Canada said, but it fell 2.1% this year amid coronavirus restrictions.

That decline, coupled with a sharp fall in revenues from campus services like conferences, dorms, food halls and parking, has hit the schools hard. Canada’s slow vaccine campaign – it currently lags well behind global peers on inoculations – and the emergence of new variants, could extend the slump in enrollment and campus revenues into the next year school, experts warn.

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