By Vicky Qiao—
A group of King’s students are petitioning Western University to stop a planned hike on international tuition fees. The petition has received over 460 signatures on change.org over the past week.
“As the whole world is in the middle of a pandemic, everyone has been affected financially, mentally as well as physically because of this,” wrote Kanvi Gupta, an international student at King’s University college who started the petition.
“We request the authorities to not increase the fees for the year 2020-2021 as we all are in an uncertain situation where we all are trying to look out for each other in every possible way!”
Western charges international students approximately four times more than its domestic students. According to the 2020/21 fee structure released by the university, international tuition for international students has increased by another $2000-$5000 from the 19/20 school year depending on programs.
With Western recruiting more international students in recent years, international fees have continued to climb each year. Business programs among others have seen an increase of over $10,000 in tuition since 2016.
The petition was started by a group of international students at King’s University College. They first reached out to King’s administration but were told the fee structure is determined by Western, said Bharti Sharda, a social science student at King’s.
Sharda is currently back home in India, she said the increase in the international tuition fee is especially frustrating during a time of pandemic and financial uncertainty.
International students do not have access to government support programs like CERB, and getting a job is more difficult than ever, she said. “When we came, we agreed to paying like five times more, but we didn’t agree to get exploited.”
“If it was like a normal increase, that’s okay. But right now the increase is just so much that everyone is outraged,” said Sharda. “Some of my friends are thinking of switching to Fanshaw because they cannot afford more.”
She said the students haven’t gotten any reply after sending emails to the university.
Kat Brown, currently pursuing her graduate degree in Media, moved to London from Florida with her husband and children.
The hike in tuition is problematic considering many international students are not eligible for financial aid and need-based awards, said Brown.
“We cashed out everything we owned to move here and it’s all sitting in the bank so that we can qualify for permanent residency, but that money sitting in a bank is like my retirement,” she said. “But it makes it so that I never qualify for any financial award.”
Western Journalism Studio has reached out to Western International and Student Central for comments. We will update the article once they’ve responded.