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Almost 3,000 international students take tuition refund after college strike

Students demonstrate outside the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on Wednesday November 1, 2017, as they protest against the ongoing strike by Ontario faculty members. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

About 3,000 international students attending Ontario’s colleges asked for a tuition refund after a faculty strike, according to new figures released by the provincial government.

The number represents roughly five per cent of the approximately 58,000 full time international students enrolled in the system.

In comparison, of the approximately 192,000 full time domestic college students, just over 22,600 – nearly 12 per cent – asked for and received the tuition refund.

Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews said the international student figures, which are still preliminary and could change, make sense given the substantial costs incurred by international students to attend Canadian post-secondary institutes.

The government says that overall, 10.3 per cent of full time students – 25,700 students – sought the refunds.

Last month, the minister ordered colleges to refund tuition money for any student who felt unable to complete the condensed semester, a decision which is likely to cost the schools millions of dollars which would have otherwise been saved because of the labour dispute.