Federal Government announces changes regarding international student requirements

With more annual adjustments expected going forward

After almost two decades without any changes, the cost-of-living requirements for study permit applicants in Canada rose from $10,000 to $20,635.

Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced this increase on Dec 7, 2023, as a way to ensure international students who come to Canada are financially prepared for academic success.

As of Jan 1, 2024, all new study permit applications received will need to show they have access to $20,635 instead of the $10,000, in addition to paying for travel and tuition.

During the announcement, Miller said this amount will be adjusted annually based on a Statistics Canada benchmark for living costs. Something that has failed to happen since the early 2000s.

TRU has been home to international students from different corners of the world for 40 years. ZiPing Feng, the international marketing and recruitment director does not expect a significant impact from the new federal requirements, given their experience in recruiting and supporting students throughout their stay.

Reuben Onyango, the associate director of international student services, along with Feng, helps oversee the international education, training, and development division at TRU.

They believe these changes will prepare students for the financial reality of living in Canada, so they can focus on their studies and not on making ends meet at the end of the month.

“This [cost-of-living requirement change] added a little bit of transparency in terms of the actual cost for them to live here. On the tuition side, we are always transparent,” Onyango said.

Feng added that while TRU had always added an estimate of the cost of living into the international admissions paperwork, it is good for the government to work on making this information readily available. Still, both understand there might be some challenges for students concerning initial funding.

“It may cause some students to somehow take a pause and prepare again for their journey, and at TRU we are ready to accommodate those changes in student’s plans,” Feng said.

While this increase is a significant amount, it has not changed the number of people beginning their international studies at TRU. Currently, the university hosts 4600 students from 100 different countries, a number Onyango and Feng are hoping to stabilize in the coming years.

This new cost-of-living requirement is said to change year by year, something that Onyango believes will be in small increments to avoid big changes like this one.

“The formula they’re using now is one that’s worked for years, and it’s been used a lot for permanent residence applications. So, now the process is more streamlined when they attach it to the temporary residence applications,” Onyango said.

Feng continues to view TRU as a highly regarded institution for international students and Canada as a country with many opportunities. He hopes these changes encourage others to start their journey into higher education.

Students with questions, concerns, or comments are encouraged to contact an International Student Advisor (ISA). ISAs are available throughout the year to support students with any questions regarding their Visas, courses, and federal changes like this one.