May 11th, 2020
TORONTO, ON - The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is proud to release our policy paper on International Students & International Education, which was approved at our virtual Spring General Assembly in April. Written and ratified by students, this paper provides recommendations intended to increase the quality of exchange programs and improve the experiences of international students studying at post-secondary institutions in Ontario.
Students are concerned about several issues affecting international students, including unregulated tuition, lack of financial aid, inflexible study permits, restricted access to labour markets and work-integrated learning, limited health coverage and mental health support, and unethical recruitment practices. There are also concerns over the affordability and quality of exchange programs, which offer inconsistent experiences across post-secondary institutions.
“The recommendations in this policy will help ensure that international students receive a high-quality undergraduate experience when they choose to study in Ontario,” said Brook Snider, Associate Vice-President University Affairs for the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union, Brantford Campus. “It’s also important that the province regulate international tuition fees so that students can plan their finances effectively and complete their studies without taking on excessive debt.”
Recommendations in this policy focus on regulating international student tuition, allowing international students to opt into the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), creating an accreditation system to ensure that recruiting agents conform to ethical standards, investing in on-campus resources for international students, and implementing an inter-university quality assurance program for outbound exchange programs.
“International students are a valuable part of our communities,” said Megan Town, Vice-President Education for the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) and OUSA Steering Committee member. “I hope that the provincial government will help international students look after themselves by allowing them to opt in to OHIP by paying a fair, affordable premium, so that they can access mental and physical health resources that are already available to domestic students. ”
OUSA looks forward to working with the provincial government and sector stakeholders to implement the recommendations in this policy, which was written and approved by post-secondary student leaders and delegates after research and consultations with students across Ontario. Visit www.ousa.ca to read the full policy paper and its corresponding policy brief.
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OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.
Operations & Communications Coordinator
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance