DSU takes another step in raising awareness
By Tania Arora, Staff Reporter
To bring to light the amount of tuition paid by international students, the “Fairness for International Students” campaign came to the New Westminster and David Lam Campuses.
On November 13, the DSU had a table set up at David Lam Campus to provide more awareness about international student tuition fees. The next day, they set up in New West talking about the same issue.
Tanysha Klassen, Director of External Relations at the DSU, said in an interview with the Other Press that the goal is to help people not be unfairly surprised by spiked tuition fees.
“It is basically for fairness and equality so that people can budget better. It is about unpredictability. We aren’t asking for reduction in the fees, but no more 10 or 20 percent increase[s] anymore. No more huge increases. This issue is being given a real push for the first time.”
The campaign was officially launched in September. The DSU organized an international meet-and-greet to formally launch the campaign and to give international students resources while at the College.
Last week drove the campaign further by getting the rest of the student body involved. Students were asked to sign postcards to be sent to both Douglas College’s Board of Governors and BC government ministers.
The postcards were split into two parts: The message for the College was that there needs to be better regulation on international student tuition increases, while the message sent to the provincial government focused on asking for legislation that would prevent universities from having unregulated control over tuition increases. Domestic students already have a two percent cap increase in BC. The campaign’s aim is to get the same for international students.
In 2016, Douglas College hosted 2,000 international students from 85 countries. The numbers have increased since then. Douglas College’s financial report shows that more that $64 million was received in both international and domestic tuition fees from the period of March 21, 2017 to March of this year.
The 2017 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration said that temporary immigration, such as by international students, plays a significant part in the job market and economy as a whole. According to the report, “Canada is becoming an increasingly popular destination for international students and tourism, and those who came to Canada temporarily in 2016 accounted for $32.2 billion in our economy.”
Klassen also said that there are a lot of myths surrounding international students and their wealth.
“A lot of people think that all the international students are rich,” she said. “It is a myth. Not everyone is. We have a lot of research data done by BCFS and others which shows that only around 50 percent of those come from affluent families. People think they are cash cows, but many come from backgrounds where it is hard for them.”
The Fairness for International Students campaign will take place next semester as well.