Many students have paid the tuition fee and are worried they will lose the money as well as their opportunity to study in Canada.
A Scarborough College in Ontario, Canada has suspended the enrolment of hundreds of international students after a payment of $15000 ( more than 900 thousand INR) as tuition fee. This has led to chaos and angst amongst students. The situation has put the study permit of these students in peril.
Harmanpreet Kaur is one of the students who had to go through this ordeal. She recently completed her first semester at Alpha College of Business and Technology. Alpha is an affiliate of St. Lawrence College. She received an email on May 17 informing her that her spring semester enrolment had been suspended.
The students have started protesting in front of Alpha College on Kennedy Road. Kaur is among many students who have been protesting day and night in front of the college.
She explains the importance of the enrolment letter for international students. International students’ lives are “totally incomplete without the enrolment letter, as it is the main proof that we are declared as students in Canada,” she said.
Fellow student Ekam Noor said that Alpha students residing in India received an offer letter and paid fees. Later they were told that they would not get an enrolment letter.
“The students who are still in India, who have not come here yet, the college gives them an offer letter and they took their fees. They paid around $16,000 for two semesters, and after that, they told them that they cannot come to Canada because they are not providing them with a letter of enrolment,” Noor said.
He explains how these students have lost their fees and an opportunity to study in Canada.
The protesting students demand a guarantee in writing from the college that they’ll be able to graduate on schedule.
Alpha president Vivian Liu said a break semester is a typical part of the school year and should not impact students’ ability to apply for a post-graduate work permit. “All students who meet enrolment requirements remain active students,” she said in a statement to CBC News released via St. Lawrence College. St Lawrence has not addressed students’ study permit concerns.
Liu informed that the school suggested “alternative enrolment options” as a result of increased winter and spring semester demands.
Meanwhile, the situation has started affecting the mental health of the students.
“We come from our country with lots of dreams, with lots of hope. Our family and our relatives are not there to support us. It’s really destroying my mental health, ” Harmanpreet Kaur said.
Another student, Ramanpreet Kaur said that things started going downwards after the first semester. “I contacted college [and] they informed us ‘we are not enrolling you,'” she said.
She was in a state of shock after the sudden change of events.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson speaking to CBC news said that the Ontario Ministry of College and Universities are aware of the situation
Rashi Jain assured that the ministry has been in contact with St. Lawrence College and understands that the college and its affiliate are working to find solutions for the impacted students. “The ministry understands that all students impacted for the Spring 2022 semester are being accommodated,” Jain wrote in an email.
She added that International student study permits are a federal responsibility but federal guidelines state that study permit holders may take an authorized leave of up to 150 days and still be considered to be actively pursuing their studies.
However, for the students, the events have shattered their faith in the university.
“The only thing we want from this college is that they give us written proof that they are going to finish our graduation here and then let us finish our graduation and that they will not do something like this again in the future,” Noor said.
“We cannot believe their commitments because they keep telling us different things every day and we just simply cannot believe them,” Noor added.