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Studying in Canada - Financial update

Updated: Feb 22

# Enhancing Financial Support for International Students in Canada

International students enrich the Canadian educational landscape, fostering cultural diversity and contributing substantially to the country's economy. However, many face financial challenges upon arrival due to outdated cost-of-living thresholds. Recognizing this, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, announced significant changes aimed at better supporting international students in Canada.

## Understanding the Need for Change

The current cost-of-living threshold for international students, fixed at $10,000 since the early 2000s, no longer reflects the rising cost of living in Canada. Consequently, many students find themselves financially vulnerable and at risk of exploitation upon their arrival. The stagnant threshold fails to provide an accurate representation of the expenses students encounter, including accommodation, transportation, and daily necessities.

## Addressing Financial Vulnerability

In response to these challenges, Minister Miller unveiled a substantial increase in the financial requirement for study permit applicants. Effective January 1, 2024, students must demonstrate access to $20,635, in addition to their first-year tuition and travel costs. This adjustment reflects 75% of the low-income cut-off (LICO), ensuring that students have sufficient funds to cover essential expenses and mitigate financial hardship.

## Fostering a Supportive Environment

Beyond addressing immediate financial concerns, the Canadian government is committed to enhancing the overall experience of international students. Collaborative efforts with various stakeholders will facilitate targeted initiatives to support underrepresented student populations and promote inclusivity within the educational landscape.

## Strengthening Institutional Accountability

Recent reforms in the International Student Program underscore a commitment to quality education and student welfare. Institutions will be evaluated based on their capacity to provide comprehensive support services, including housing and academic assistance, to international students. This framework aims to ensure that institutions prioritize student well-being and maintain sustainable student-to-support ratios.

## Adapting to Changing Dynamics

Temporary policies regarding international students' employment and post-graduation opportunities have been adjusted to accommodate evolving needs. Extensions to off-campus work permits and the inclusion of online study periods for post-graduation work permits reflect a responsive approach to students' changing circumstances while maintaining program integrity.

## Embracing Economic Contribution

International students contribute significantly to Canada's economy, generating over $22 billion in annual economic activity and supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs. By implementing revised financial thresholds and enhancing student support mechanisms, the government seeks to uphold Canada's reputation as a welcoming and inclusive destination for international education.

## Conclusion: A Path Forward

The increased cost-of-living threshold and accompanying measures represent a pivotal step towards ensuring the well-being and success of international students in Canada. By addressing financial vulnerabilities and fostering a supportive environment, the government reaffirms its commitment to promoting diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence within Canadian institutions. As Canada continues to embrace its role as a global education hub, these initiatives lay the foundation for a brighter, more equitable future for international students nationwide.


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