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Conestoga College International Student Recruitment Criticized for Growth Strain

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Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario, is facing criticism for its aggressive recruitment of international students, turning the campus into a hub of diverse cultures and languages, notably South Asian. The substantial increase in study permits, reaching 37,000 in 2023, has raised concerns about the college’s capacity to sustain such rapid growth.

Leopold Koff, a union leader at Conestoga College, highlights the strain on faculty and staff, emphasizing the challenges posed by the quick expansion on-campus. With international students outnumbering domestic ones, issues like limited resources and student preparedness have emerged.

The college’s administration, including President John Tibbits and union leaders like Vikki Poirier, have defended the recruitment levels, pointing to the surplus in finances generated by international student fees.

Individual stories of students like Bijith Powathu and Fredin Benny shed light on the financial struggles faced by many international students, who often rely on loans and part-time work to cover expenses.

The federal government’s recent policy changes, announced by Immigration Minister Marc Miller, are set to impact Conestoga College’s student population, with new study permit caps and updated work hour limits affecting students like Powathu and Benny.

Rachel Adams

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