International students, including Indian students, who dreamed of studying in Canada got a very rude wake-up call when Northern College in Ontario revoked their admission offers a month before the start of school.
According to reports published yesterday in Canadian media, at least 500 students, including Indians, have been left high and dry. Some of the students were already in Canada when they were informed their offers had been withdrawn, CBC News reported.
These international students recently received an e-mail from Northern College, informing them that their admission offers for this coming school year had been revoked, the report said.
Among the students was Ashley, who had already paid her registration fees and booked her flight from Punjab to Toronto when she found out just over a week ago that she was no longer accepted to Northern College, Ontario.
“It was very heartbreaking for me. It had a huge impact on my lifestyle,” the report quoted Ashley as saying.
The student from India received her acceptance letter in February to study healthcare administration at Scarborough’s Pures College of Technology, which is an affiliate of Northern College. She had already applied for a student visa, quit her job in healthcare, and booked a one-way ticket to Toronto.
Now, instead of packing her bags, Ashley will remain in India while scrambling for a solution. “It was not a normal process for us as international students who have used all the savings that we had,” she said.
Pures College said that it was “ready, willing and able to accept all international students who received letters of admission”, but that its affiliate, Northern College, decided against doing so.
As a private college in partnership with a public college, Pures said it did not have the authority to make final decisions on the admissions process.
Northern College said that the problem was caused by Canada approving more visas for international students than expected.
Students will be refunded or transferred to different schools, the college said. But some could still be on the hook for cancelled flights and accommodation.
This is not the first time that international students have been left in limbo by a Canadian school. In May, hundreds of students said that their enrolment was unilaterally suspended by Alpha College of Business and Technology, an affiliate of St. Lawrence College in Ontario.
Commenting on these events, Jaspreet Singh, president of the International Sikh Student Association and a member of the World Sikh Organisation, said that these situations were indicative of a bigger problem.
“The system is exploiting students,” he said. “The same thing is happening every year...every semester,” CBS News quoted Singh as saying.
An international student is granted permission to study in Canada based on their acceptance to a designated learning institution. International students must present their acceptance letter upon arrival to clear immigration and receive a permit to stay in the country to complete their education.