EDITORIAL – Why international students should and must pay more

(Image: TRU)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

AN INTERESTING QUESTION, one of many, came up during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to the TRU campus last week.

There were a lot of international students in the audience. One of them suggested international students shouldn’t have to pay higher tuition fees than Canadian students do. In the opinion of that student, getting rid of higher tuition fees for international students is a simple matter of fairness.

I think a lot of people might argue international students should pay even more.

When I went to school in the U.S., I accepted that I had to pay out-of-state tuition fees that were double what my American friends were paying.

It amounted to thousands of dollars a year, and, at one point, I had to leave school and go to work because I could no longer afford it. Fortunately, I was able to return later, cash in hand for those expensive tuition fees.

I didn’t regard it as unfair. I had no roots in the U.S. I had never paid taxes there, and neither had my parents. The Rothenburgers didn’t contribute to the U.S. school system or the roads and infrastructure or social services. The state of Washington had no interest in subsidizing me as it did local students. By the way, I did get excellent health care down there when I needed it.

When an international student comes to a Canadian university like TRU, he or she arrives to a system that has been bought and paid for by Canadian taxpayers.  There’s no logical reason to subsidize international students.

Students from other countries are a tremendously positive presence in our communities. But, sorry, international students, you’ll have to keep paying more than Canadian students.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8054 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on EDITORIAL – Why international students should and must pay more

  1. Either international students are sharp con artists who think the PM is really dumb and will fall for anything or the students themselves are extremely naive and think money grows on trees, or perhaps just wishful thinkers….

  2. Sean McGuinness // January 15, 2019 at 9:15 AM // Reply

    I don’t buy this argument. With the same reasoning, we should charge international visitors more to visit our provincial and national parks (which we don’t). Also, international students or their parents/sponsors are presumably paying taxes in their home countries. The difference in fees (which are substantial) is really more of a tariff, which in a lot of cases would make sense to get rid of, at least to make education more affordable for students.

  3. Dave Monsees // January 15, 2019 at 7:35 AM // Reply

    I don’t think International visitors have any idea what it costs to be a Canadian. In Canada, we have to have everyone paying a share ( well almost everbody, but we wont go there ) When International Students visit, they are totally unaware that resident Canadian Students have parents that have been paying towards their educations since they were born. The same is occurring with our immigrants. They expect to be super treated, almost as royalty without any regard to what it is costing resident Canadians. But then, if we can’t get Mr. Trudeau to realize this, how should we ever expect a visitor.

    • David Johnson // January 19, 2019 at 6:36 AM // Reply

      Your final argument is ridiculous Dave.
      By definition, an immigrant has signed on to begin paying all the taxes and towards the economy of Canada, and will be raising a future family tree that will also contribute to our economy in the future.
      International students do not. They are here to study short term and then they go home or elsewhere to earn and pay tax in that country. They are by definition … visitors, who can even apply to get their GST taxes paid in our stores, refunded.
      Piling immigrants into the same mouthful as international students/visitors is at best rhetorical.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: