Facts and Figures

Canada’s Performance and Potential in International Education

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Canada’s Performance and Potential in International Education: International Students in Canada 2018
Canada’s Performance and Potential in International Education: Canadian Students Abroad 2016

International Students Worldwide

  • It is estimated that in 2014 the number of internationally mobile students surpassed the 5 million mark, and that by 2022 the number of internationally mobile students will reach 7 million[1],[2].

International Students in Canada

  • Canada ranks as the world’s 4th most popular destination for international students (Source: Project Atlas)
  • There were 494,525 international students in Canada in 2017, representing a 119% increase since 2010, and an increase of 20% over the previous year (Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada).
  • International students made up 11% of the postsecondary student population in Canada in the 2015-2016 academic year (Source: Statistics Canada).

Economic Impact of International Students in Canada

  • Canada derives nearly $8B annually from international student expenditures including tuition and living expenses[3].
  • The presence of international students created over 81,000 jobs and generated over than $445M in government revenue (2010)[4].

Top Sending Countries

  • Students from China make up 28% of Canada’s international student population, followed by students from India (25%), South Korea (5%), France (4%) and United States (3%) (Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada)
  • Countries with the fastest growing number of international students in Canada (2016- 2017): Vietnam (+89%), India (+63%), Iran (+45%), Bangladesh (+41%), Brazil (+28%), and Mexico (+16%) (Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada)

International students by Level of study

  • Three-quarters all international students in Canada are studying at the postsecondary level.
  • Students studying at the primary, secondary or cégep (QC) level make up about 14% of the international student population in Canada.

International Students in Canada by Province and Territory

  • Of the 494,525 international students in Canada, 48% are in Ontario, 24% are in British Columbia and 12% are in Quebec.

The International Students’ Voice

The-International-Students’-Voice
  • According to CBIE’s International Student Survey (2015), Engineering, business and the natural and social sciences are the top fields of study of international students in Canada.
  • The top alternate study destinations considered by international students in Canada are the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
The-International-Students’-Voice-2

Pathways to Canadian Education

  • According to CBIE’s International Student Survey (2015) 15% of post-secondary international students have previous experience pursuing studies in Canada. Of those, 8% begin their Canadian education experience at the secondary or primary level.
  • Canada’s coordination in pathways programs for international students is not well developed compared with other global destination hubs. For example, in Australia, 80% of international students arrive at post-secondary education through well-defined pathways programs, compared with 30% of international students in Canada (Illuminate Consulting Group, 2015[5].

Education Abroad

  • 97% of Canadian universities offer education abroad programs[6] and 82% of Canadian colleges and institutes offer education abroad[7].
  • Despite the documented personal and national benefits of education abroad, only 3.1% of full-time Canadian undergraduate university students[8] and 1.1% of full-time college students[9] have a credit or not-for-credit education abroad experience annually.
  • Approximately 30% of German students[10], 10% of US students[11], 13% of Australians[12] go abroad at some point during their degree.
  • The top barrier to participation for Canadian students remains financial.
  • In 2014, CBIE made a call for Canada to provide 50,000 education abroad awards by 2022 in order to overcome Canada’s critical international skills deficit.

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Source

CBIE, A World of Learning: Canada’s Performance and Potential in International Education 2015, unless otherwise noted:

[1] OECD, Education at a glance 2014

[2] ICEF Monitor, Summing up international student mobility in 2014

[3], [4] Roslyn Kunin and Associates Inc., Economic impact of international education in Canada – Final report: An update, 2012

[5] Illuminate Consulting Group, International Students Pathways in Canada, 2015

[6], [8] Universities Canada, Canada’s Universities in the World: AUCC Internationalization Survey, 2014

[7], [9] CICan, Internationalizing Canadian Colleges and Institutes: The First National Report on International Education and Mobility, 2010

[10] Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy, International Education: A Key Driver of Canada’s Future Prosperity, 2012

[11] Generation Study Abroad website, Today’s Numbers, 2015

[12] Universities Australia website, Outbound Mobility, June 26, 2013.