Thompson Rivers University (TRU) is well-positioned to navigate federal government changes designed to ensure international students who come to Canada are financially prepared for academic success.
Last week, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marc Miller announced that the cost-of-living requirement for single study permit applicants will rise from $10,000 to $20,635 as of Jan. 1, 2024. The cost-of-living requirement has not been updated since the early 2000s and has not kept up with the cost of living over time, he said.
TRU’s Vice-President International Baihua Chadwick said changes such as these have been needed for quite some time.
“A change to the financial requirement for study permits has been a long time coming, and TRU welcomes the change as good news,” she said. “Ensuring that international students are financially prepared for studying in Canada protects students and sets them up to be successful.”
TRU World has long offered enhanced services and support to international students to help them succeed in their studies. These services include a culturally sensitive team of international student advisors who provide one-on-one support, health and wellness benefits, immigration advice and a specialized orientation pre- and post-arrival. TRU also has a dedicated admissions team and housing co-ordinator to assist students in finding safe and reliable housing.
“We have a responsibility to ensure students are prepared and supported when they come to study at our university,” said Chadwick. “From the beginning of the recruitment process to graduation, TRU offers specialized student services and supports to ensure international students are well-equipped for what it truly costs to study and live here in Kamloops.”
TRU is a leading destination for international students and currently has more than 4,600 international students from more than 100 countries. Given TRU’s 40 years of experience in recruitment and support of international students, the university does not anticipate a significant impact from the new federal requirements.
“Students come to TRU for the benefits of an international experience and quality education; worrying about the cost of living will not enhance that experience,” said Chadwick. “Students with a stable financial base, as the new minimum requirement for study permits will ensure, can focus on their academic pursuits and the cultural experience of living in Canada.”
TRU President Brett Fairbairn emphasized the importance of empathy and understanding for the unique pressures encountered by international students.
“It’s crucial to acknowledge the challenges facing international students. As an institution, we will respond. We must be committed to directing more resources towards scholarships, emergency financial assistance, and essential services tailored for them,” Fairbairn said.
“As part of TRU World’s 40th anniversary celebrations this year, we announced the creation of new scholarships for international students. This aligns with the university’s ongoing efforts to make international education more accessible and foster academic excellence through the creation of financial awards.
“In my view, this is an equity matter — it is what these students need to succeed.”
In addition to the cost-of-living financial requirements, the ministry announcement provided updates regarding three temporary policies:
- the increase in international students’ off-campus working hours is extended until Apr. 30, 2024
- the eligibility of online learning for post-graduation work permits ends for those who start their program after Sept. 1, 2024
- the automatic 18-month extension for post-graduation work permit holders ends Jan. 1, 2024
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