(File photo)

COVID-19 could cost Canadian universities millions, even billions: Statistics Canada

In 2017-2018, foreign students alone paid about 40 per cent of all tuition fees

Canadian universities could lose as much as $3.4 billion this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Statistics Canada has projected, in large part due to a decrease in the number of foreign students.

In a report published this week, Statistics Canada tried to estimate university budget losses for the 2020-2021 school year.

Tuition fees make up an increasingly large portion of university revenues, the agency said. In 2013-2014, tuition fees accounted for 24.7 per cent of school funding, while they made up 29.4 per cent in 2018-2019.

The largest portion of university revenue comes from government funding, at 45.8 per cent.

Statistics Canada said the increase in the proportion of tuition fees was caused by a growing number of foreign students, who pay higher tuition — almost five times as much as Canadian citizens.

In 2017-2018, foreign students alone paid about 40 per cent of all tuition fees.

Therefore, Statistics Canada said, universities could lose between $377 million and $3.4 billion — 0.8 per cent to 7.5 per cent of their total revenues — this academic year.

The agency based its projection on the number of study permits issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, which corresponds to the number of foreign students in the country.

In 2020, 58 per cent fewer permits were issued and about 13 per cent of those that were issued were no longer valid in September.

The agency said Canadian student registration numbers could also drop this year.

It found 20 per cent of 17- to 24-year-olds who were in school last March said they did not plan to return this year.

Wendy Therrien, external relations and research director at Universities Canada, said it’s too soon to tell whether the pandemic will have an effect on university budgets or registration.

She said, however, that the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) helped students and their families have the means and confidence to go back to school this year.

Universities are also adapting to pandemic-related travel restrictions and have allowed foreign students to continue their studies remotely, she said.

“That helps us retain those students,” Therrien said.

ALSO READ: Remembrance Day planners scrambling as COVID-19 upends traditional ceremonies

Vicky Fragasso-Marquis, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusUniversities and Colleges

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Coombs Candy Walk will not be held this year due to COVID-19. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Popular Coombs Candy Walk cancelled for 2020

Organizers promise ‘out of this world’ Halloween for 2021

(BLACK PRESS FILE PHOTO)
Nanaimo man killed in Highway 4 crash

RCMP say dirt bike turned ‘suddenly’ into traffic

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a woman who allegedly threw hot coffee on a McDonald’s employee. (News Bulletin photo)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP still looking for woman who threw coffee at worker after already receiving refund

Police asking for information in investigation that could lead to assault charges

Our Home on 8th, the Port Alberni Shelter that opened in March 2019, has 27 extra ‘extreme weather’ spaces for people who need a place to get out of the cold. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BC VOTES 2020: Mid-Island candidate plans occupation of shelter to protest homelessness

Graham Hughes says homeless situation a ‘crisis’ in Port Alberni

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter. Photo supplied
Wanted man from Calgary may be on Vancouver Island

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

The Cowichan Steelheads’ Jesus Martinez (left) and the Cowichan 49ers’ Daryl Rodgers chase down the ball during Saturday night’s all-Cowichan clash at the Sherman Road turf. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan masters derby takes unexpected turn with broken leg

Soccer community comes together in midst of battle

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Most Read