Last Updated on July 24, 2017
February 15, 2017 – Montreal has jumped to the top of a global ranking of the world’s top student cities.
Canada’s second largest metropolis beat the likes of Paris, London and Seoul thanks to the positive opinions of students who studied there.
It jumped from seventh in 2016 to topple Paris from top spot. The ranking considered the views of former, current, and potential students for the first time.
The rankings also took into account factors such as standard of universities, student mix, employers’ views, how desirable the city is and how cheap it is to live there.
Vancouver took 10th spot and Toronto 11th in the list compiled by analysts at QS Quacquarelli Symonds.
They found that a potential student’s idea of a city differed vastly from the opinions of former students with real experience of living there.
To a potential student, the idea of studying in Paris or London was found to be exciting, but the real experience did not live up to expectations. It seems that when it came to Montreal, students could not speak highly enough of their time spent in the city.
McGill University played a key part in Montreal’s high score, ranked as 24th best school in the world and the best in Canada.
The fact that more than a quarter of students in the city are international was another important factor.
Low tuition fees and housing costs (when compared to other cities in the top five) also contributed significantly.
The ranking comes at a time when Canada is attempting to attract as many international students as possible to the country.
With Donald Trump doing all he can to limit immigration to the U.S., Canada has an opportunity to step in and pick up the slack.
Canadian universities have witnessed an upturn in interest ever since Trump won the U.S. election back in November.
Traffic to university websites, from within the U.S. and abroad, peaked on election night and has been substantially higher ever since, meaning the 2017-2018 international student application numbers are likely to have been higher.
But there remained an element of ‘wait and see’ until Trump came to power. Now that the new U.S. administration has directly attempted to enact some of the extreme policies Trump spoke about on the campaign trail, the message for potential newcomers is abundantly clear.
Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
The perceptions of Canada and the U.S. could not be more different in the international community. While Trump goes about his immigration crackdown, Canada has announced sustained record immigration numbers and tweaked its immigration system to help satisfy economic needs.
One of those tweaks will make it easier for international students to begin their working lives in Canada once they graduate.
The carrot of being given a pathway to permanent residence after graduation gives Canada an overwhelmingly strong case for drawing away some of the more than a million international students attending U.S. schools in 2016.
International students pay up to two or three times the tuition fees of Canadian students, making them key contributors to the budgets of the top universities across the country.
One estimate suggested the U.S. international student population was worth $32 billion a year to its economy.
International Graduates Under Express Entry
Changes made to Canada’s Express Entry System mean international students completing recognized degrees and diplomas in Canada are now specifically awarded points for the first time.
Students completing a three-year post secondary, master’s, professional degree or doctorate will get 30 extra points, while those who complete a post secondary diploma of at least one year duration score 15 points. No points are awarded for a high school certificate obtained in Canada.
Points Awarded for Canadian Education Under Express Entry
|Education Level||Number of Points|
|One or two-year post secondary||15|
|Three-year post secondary, master’s, professional degree or doctorate||30|
In order to score Canadian education points, the candidate must have:
- Studied in Canada at a Canadian educational institution.
- Been enrolled in full-time study or training for at least eight months.
- Been physically present in Canada for at least eight months.
Provinces Switch Focus to International Students
Canada’s provinces are already focusing on attracting international students to their universities, and on welcoming international graduates through their immigration programs.
Recent rounds of invitations issued under British Columbia’s Provincial Nominee Program have been heavily weighted towards international graduates.
Meanwhile, Nova Scotia has introduced a pilot program designed to attract international graduates to remain in the province.
Graduates in fields such as health care, entrepreneurship, computer engineering and ocean sciences will see their salaries subsidized under the program, initially open to 50 graduates.
The University of Prince Edward Island is also increasing its international student recruitment efforts following significant success in growing its cohort.
With numbers of Canadian-born undergraduates dropping off in recent years, the school now relies on students from abroad to drive growth in enrollment numbers.
The latest figures from 2015 show 17 per cent of the overall student population is from overseas – or 748 out of total enrollment of 4,317.