After the result of the US election on November 8, 2016, which has been greeted with anxiety and uncertainty by many potential and current international students, Canada is rising as an attractive alternative for higher education.
News outlets have been flooded with reports of Americans wanting to move to Canada after the result of the presidential election on November 8, 2016. In addition to these inquiries about permanent immigration, many individuals have also expressed concern at the prospect of studying or remaining in the United States under the administration of Donald Trump.
The Trump presidential campaign has been represented in several media outlets as divisive and offensive to foreign nationals. Trump’s statement in December 2015 (since retracted from his website) that he intended to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the United States, as well as his well-known stance towards the US-Mexico border, have dissuaded potential students around the world from considering the US as a study destination.
Prospective Students May Consider Other Destinations
A survey conducted earlier in 2016 by international student recruitment agency FPP Edu Media found that the prospect of a Trump presidency caused prospective international students to reconsider the possibility of studying in the US. Among Indian students surveyed, 39 percent said they would be less likely to study in the US under a Trump administration. This number rose to 48 percent among Indonesian students, 58 percent among Filipino students, and more than 80 percent among Mexican students. Overall, between half and two-thirds of all students surveyed across South and Central America indicated that the election of Donald Trump would discourage them from studying in the US.
In a survey conducted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), it was found that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia withdrew some of its students from study programs in the US due to discrimination. Of those withdrawn students, 80 percent considered Canada as an alternative. The survey, which questioned college admissions counsellors, also found that international students in the US frequently express concerns about political climate, guns, safety and security, racial tensions, and cost of education. More than half of these counsellors (64 percent) said they have seen an increase in students switching from considering the US as a study destination, to considering other countries. Canada was frequently mentioned as an alternative. One counsellor was quoted as saying, “Every time Trump opens his mouth, more students look to Canada.”
Every time Trump opens his mouth, more students look to Canada.
Looking to America’s Northern Neighbour
Canada is often held up in contrast to the US on key issues that concern prospective international students. Particularly on issues such as gun control and the cost of education, Canada compares favourably against statistics from the US. Parents worldwide recently ranked Canada third in the world for quality of life, quality of education, and job prospects for international students.
In a recent article from Times Higher Education, Professor Philip Altbach, founding director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, said it is “very likely” that Canada will be among those countries that could benefit from a rise in interest among prospective international students following the election of Donald Trump. Canada offers not only the chance to study in English in North America, but also the chance to study in French-language or bilingual study programs.
A Lasting Trend?
It is worth noting that the immediate reaction to the election of Donald Trump has been characterized by surprise and emotion. It remains to be seen whether the future president will — directly or indirectly — discourage potential international students from choosing the US for their higher education. Likewise, it is not yet certain whether current international students in the US will feel the need to transfer to other study programs outside the US.
Analysts note that policy changes and fluctuating exchange rates are events that are more likely to affect international student enrollment than a media storm around an elected official. Rajika Bhandari, deputy vice-president of research and evaluation at the US-based Insitute of International Education, gives the examples of stricter visa-screening procedures introduced after the terrorist attacks on New York on September 11, 2001, and the devaluation of the Indian rupee against the dollar in 2012-2013. Both of these events caused a slight decline in the number of international students from certain countries enrolling in US study programs, although numbers rebounded.
While it may be some time before the effect of this election result is felt in the sphere of higher education, this is an important time of year for prospective international students around the world. University and college applications processes will soon begin in earnest, and choosing the right institution — and the right country — could be the most important decision international students make towards their future.
To learn more about your options for studying in Canada, click here. There is also a range of tools and resources available for prospective students in Canada, including Canada School Search and School Match Canada.
© 2016 CanadaStudyNews All Rights Reserved