Western University Increasingly Dependent on International Students

Western University Increasingly Dependent on International Students

The changes in higher education that are coming into effect this coming academic year, such as the ten per cent reduction in domestic tuition, are expected to affect international students attending or planning to attend universities in Ontario.

Some schools may increase the cost of international student tuition and enrolment in an attempt to balance the expected losses in revenue due to this and other changes made by Doug Ford.

In order to help prospective Western students better understand the trends in international and domestic tuition and enrolment, we have taken a look at Western University’s international student environment over the past 12 years.

We created this report in hopes that it will give students a better idea of what to expect when Ford’s changes come into effect.

The observed trends in international and domestic tuition and enrolment show that Western University has increased its dependence on international students every year, mainly by increasing tuition fees and enrolment at much higher rates than domestic rates.

*When a year is stated, it is the beginning of that academic year. (ie. 2006 refers to the 2006-2007 academic year)

*The data collected was for the main campus of Western University

*Data was collected mainly from CUDO (Common University Data Ontario) by the Council of Ontario Universities, school documents such as tuition fee schedules and school-specific CUDO data.

*Tuition fee data was based on the tuition cost for an average undergraduate arts and science full-time degree as this is the metric CUDO uses as a common metric among all Ontario universities.

*The tuition fees stated below refer to the tuition cost for the first-year of studies.

Western University Tuition Fees

The International Tuition Increase Nearly Tripled Domestic Tuition’s Increase from 2006-2017

At Western University, international tuition increased over 70 per cent in 12 years, while domestic tuition costs increased by only 26 per cent.

International outpaced the domestic tuition increase and the inflation rate by 2.7x and 3.6x more, respectively, from 2006-2017.

Western’s average first-year domestic tuition cost of a degree in undergraduate arts and science (full-time) grew from $5,166 in 2006 (in 2017 dollars) to $6,528 in 2017, an increase of just over 26 per cent.

Whereas the international tuition for the same degree grew from $15,583 in 2006 (in 2017 dollars) to $26,614 in 2017, an increase of over 70 per cent.

Western University increased its international tuition at rates that greatly outpaced both inflation and domestic tuition increase rates.

International Tuition Increased by 8x More Than Domestic Tuition Each Year

International tuition at Western has increased over $1,000, while domestic tuition increased by only $124.

Each year, international tuition has increased by more than eight times the amount of domestic tuition on average.

From 2006 to 2017, the average annual domestic tuition increase was only $123 while the average annual international tuition increase was an astonishing $1,003.

This means, in terms of dollar values, that international tuition increased by more than eight times the amount of domestic tuition each year, showing Western’s intention to maximize revenue earned from international students.

Each year at Western University, international tuition costs have increased at rates far higher than domestic tuition costs.

Adjusted for inflation: numbers shown are in 2017 dollars.

On an annual basis, it is evident that there has been a substantial rise in international tuition year-to-year and from 2006 to 2017, compared to the relatively stagnant increases in domestic tuition.

The overwhelming difference in tuition costs between these two groups shows the intention of Western University to further capitalize on incoming international students.

After 2012, International Tuition Increase Rates Outpaced Domestic Tuition Each Year by Almost Double the Amount

Western's growing reliance on international students is evident, as the annual increase was clearly directed at international students.

Looking at increases on a year-to-year basis, Western’s growing reliance on international students is evident, especially since 2009.

In 2006-2009, the increase in international and domestic tuition was balanced most years.

Since 2009, however, the increase in international tuition has been at least twice as large as domestic tuition for most years.

For instance, from 2013-2014, international tuition increased by 6.2x more than domestic tuition.

*International Student Fees NOTE:

One important thing to note is that the fees being used to calculate international fees do not include ancillary fees, UHIP, Ontario’s International Recovery Fee, etc.

Although ancillary fees are typically equal for both domestic and international students, extra fees such as UHIP and Ontario’s International Recovery Fee could add an additional $1000-$2000 to an international student’s yearly fees.

Which would further widen the gap between total international and domestic fees.

*Enrolment data is based on both full time and part time students for all levels of degrees including Bachelor’s and 1st Professional Degrees, Master’s Degrees, and Doctoral Degrees.

Western University Enrolment

International Enrolment Increased by 169 Per Cent While Domestic Enrolment Increased by Only 10 Per Cent in 12 Years

Western University's enrolled international students has almost tripled since 2006, while domestic enrolment increased by only ten per cent.

The increase in international enrolment significantly outpaced domestic enrolment when looking at enrolment from 2006 to 2017.

From 1,416 international students in 2006 to 3,806 in 2017, Western University’s international student enrolment has grown by 168.79 per cent.

However, from 24,507 domestic students in 2006 to 26,893 in 2017, Western University’s domestic student enrolment has only grown 9.74 per cent.

Which effectively means that international student enrolment from 2006 to 2017 grew 17.3x more than domestic student enrolment.

Western University Student Enrolment Breakdown

The number of international students has been steadily increasing at Western since 2009.

Since 2009, there has been a continuous rise in international student enrolment every year.
The number of enroled domestic students at Western University has been stagnant for the past 12 years.

Domestic student enrolment has been increasing and decreasing, with a trend of stagnation.

Although both international and domestic enrolment increased annually, international student enrolment has increased at far higher rates than domestic enrolment.

It is evident that over the years, Western University has shifted its focus more towards international students.

On Average, International Enrolment Increased by 9.61 Per Cent Annually While Domestic Enrolment Only Increased by 0.86 Per Cent

Western's international enrolment has steadily increased per year about 11 times faster than domestic enrolment.

On average, international enrolment has steadily increased about 11 times more than domestic enrolment per year.

As international student enrolment grew 9.61 per cent each year on average, domestic enrolment grew by only 0.86 per cent.

This means that international enrolment effectively grew 11.2x more than domestic enrolment each year, on average.

International enrolment at Western University increased at rates that were drastically higher than annual domestic enrolment.

International enrolment grew at rates that were drastically higher than domestic enrolment year-over-year, especially since 2008-2009.

Like many universities in Ontario, Western University has focused more on growing its international student population than their domestic student population.

For example, the increase in enrolled international students in the years 2011-2012 was effectively 54x larger than the increase in domestic students.

The Proportion of International Students at Western University Almost Tripled from 2006 to 2017

Western University's international student population almost tripled in just 12 years.

Western University’s student population is comprised much more of international students in 2017 than in 2006.

From 5.78 per cent in 2006 to 14.15 per cent in 2017, Western University’s increasing reliance on international students has resulted in the proportion of international students at Western University increasing by more than 150 per cent in 12 years.

Western has kept its proportion of international students above the Ontario average, and it does not seem that it will adjust this proportion anytime soon given the new changes coming into effect.

If the trend continues, Western could triple the proportion of its international students again in the next 12 years.

It is clear that Western University, through considerably greater tuition and enrolment rates over the past 12 years, has turned more to international students as a major source of revenue.

Due to the steady increase in demand for Canadian education, attributable to the high quality and wide availability of the schools, as well as a cheap Canadian dollar relative to competing countries, Ontario universities are likely to further exploit international students by increasing tuition fees at far higher rates than domestic ones.

With changes such as the ten per cent domestic tuition decrease coming into effect the next academic year, current and prospective students should be made aware of the possible adjustments that universities could make, such as further higher international tuition costs.


*Ancillary fees, Incidental fees, UHIP, Ontario’s International Recovery fee, and any other fees were excluded from calculations; only tuition fees were included.

*Enrolment data was collected from CUDO by the Council of Ontario Universities.

*See here for a similar analysis but on Ontario as a whole: 
Ontario Universities’ Increasing Reliance on International Students


Western University (Main Campus) Cudo Data

CUDO Tool by the Council of Ontario Universities

CUDO Archives


Ontario Universities’ Increasing Reliance on International Students

Students Say Ford’s Performance-Based Funding is Misguided

Queen’s University by the Numbers: An Intuitive Financial Analysis For Students

Should Higher-Ed Admissions Be Federally Regulated?

Author: daniel @ oneclass . com

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