Canadian universities continue to reap the benefits of everyone else’s woes

Image: Reuters/Patrick T. Fallon
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After a year of rabid political tumult in both the US and UK, homes to the best universities in the world, young people about to go to college are looking to a country that smoothly mixes the best of both, in the most inoffensive way possible.

American applications to Canadian universities were already reported to be up about 20%—and in the case of the top-ranked University of Toronto, even 70%—from last year’s application cycle. Canadian schools are now seeing a spike in attention from the rest of the world as well.

According to the BBC this week, the University of Toronto has seen an overall 20% jump in overseas students accepting spots for its next academic year starting in autumn; its applications from several individual countries also skyrocketed, before that, including a 57% increase from India. McMaster University and Wilfrid Laurier University are reporting a 33% and 32% annual increase in overseas students, respectively.

Meanwhile, more than a third of US colleges are reporting declines in applications from international students, and the number of people applying to UK universities overall is 4% down from last year. The former has much to do with social tensions and travel difficulties brought on by president Donald Trump’s administration, and the latter can probably be traced back to the same upheaval caused by Brexit.

Canada is loving it. The Canadian Bureau for International Education suggests it’s the country’s image of a “tolerant and non-discriminatory society” that is drawing foreigners, especially contrasted against the unwelcoming attitudes of the US and EU-severed UK. Oh, and it also might be the price tag: Canadian tuition and cost-of-living are markedly cheaper than that of the two other countries.