Tuition fees paid by international students in higher learning institutions in various countries have been some of the most hotly debated issues in the education sector. International students have been grouped as students with capability in many countries and the decision to charge them higher tuition fees than national students is not considered politically controversial. Most of these essay writer are OECD countries where tuition fees for international students and national students differ a great deal in public educational institutions despite pursuing the same programs.
In some countries such as New Zealand, Canada, Austria, Australia, and the United States, the tuition fees paid by international students is approximately twice that paid by other students. In countries such as Sweden and Denmark, only students that come from outside EEA (European Economic Area) are required to pay tuition fees. From these, it is evident that there are no clear guidelines regarding the amount international students should pay for tuition fees; however, it is clear that there exists a difference in the tuition fees paid by both student groups. In some cases, there are large differences in the tuition fees paid by international and those paid by national students. In the last decade, various concerned countries have implemented several reforms focused on addressing the irregularities in the tuition fees paid by international students. While some countries have done little on the same, it has been clear than finding a solution is not easy. On one hand, tuition fees exist as means to get better funding for tertiary education systems, while on the other hand, they are burdens to the students and their families; particularly, those with limited financial capability. The paper will discuss literature on tuition fees paid by international students across various countries and make conclusions based on the information collected. This paper argues that despite the negative impact of high tuition fees on international students, many institutions continue with the practice of charging international students higher tuition fees than national students because these fees help in the funding of tertiary education systems, generate a considerable revenue stream to higher education institutions, and contribute to the specific country’s economy.
Review of Literature
Charging international students higher tuition fees has been considered a double-edged sword as it has both benefits and drawbacks. For instance, they benefit the institutions and countries involved financially but are also a burden to the families involved. Many studies have been conducted on the topic to help understand the impact of tuition fees on the involved institutions, countries, and families. A review of the studies was done to provide a clear picture of the situation.
First, charging international students high tuition fees help in the funding of tertiary education systems; particularly, during periods of tight public budgets. According to Sanchez-Serra and Marconi (5), restrictions in budgets in numerous countries have led to a reduction of funding for higher education. Since these institutions require a lot of funds to run efficiently, such cuts often end up affecting their operations and this is the reason some turn to tuition fees that they charge international students to run their operations. The budget cuts on higher education funding may have long-lasting impacts on the quality of education offered by these institutions and this leads to a reliance on tuition fees paid by international students, most of which are higher. According to Sanchez-Serra and Marconi (6), the continuation of such budget cuts may lead to increased reliance on the high tuition fees that these institutions charge international students because such cuts interfere with the operations of the institutions. These interferences can be in the form of fewer course offerings, faculty reductions, and campus closings. Therefore, charging international students high tuition fees exists as a source of funding for most tertiary education systems mostly during a period of tight public budgets.
Secondly, the high tuition fees paid by international students help higher education institutions generate a considerable revenue stream that helps these institutions run their activities. For most of these learning institutions, the budget allocated by their respective governments is not sufficient to run their operations and this means that they have to turn to other sources of revenue, with the tuition fees paid by international students being one of them (Heller and Callender 101). According to Heller and Callender (101), research and development require significant expenditure and without proper allocation of financial resources, these may be severely affected. Most higher learning institutions focus on the tuition fees collected from international students to fund their research and development activities. The large revenue streams from tuition fees that have been observed in countries such as Canada, Australia, and Canada have helped the institutions involved to run their daily operations efficiently Sanchez-(OECD 347). In the US, various states have recently cut the budgets allocated to higher learning institutions and this has affected their operations. To ensure that these institutions do not stop operating, they have focused on the tuition fees collected from international students as revenue streams. Therefore, the high tuition fees collected from international students are considered as sources of revenue for many institutions without sufficient resources to run their daily activities.
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Thirdly, high tuition fees help act as contributors to the economy of the countries involved as the revenue collected from international students promote the consumption of goods and services in the countries involved. According to Garritzmann (2), the high tuition fees that higher learning institutions collected from international students are used in the purchase of goods and services that benefit the institutions involved. By purchasing these goods and services, there is a gradual promotion of the rapid development of human society and the economy in general. Through the high tuition fees collected by institutions, they manage to run their errands, most of which help in the growth of the respective country’s economy (Garritzmann 10). For instance, when a higher learning institution invests the financial resources collected from high tuition fees, it manages to fund its research activities and this is important in the growth of the economy. Research provides a country with a chance to identify opportunities to improve its revenue sources and ultimately record growth in its economy. Therefore, high tuition fees’ benefits surpass institution alone as the country involved also enjoys the benefits through economic growth.
On the other hand, high tuition fees can affect international students negatively as they are associated with high-stress levels and increased workload. According to Sanchez-Serra and Marconi (6), the high tuition fees that higher learning institutions charge international students place a burden on them and their families as some have limited financial means. New Zealand’s policy that was introduced in 2006 to reduce the tuition fees paid by international students pursuing PhD programs demonstrates the negative impact of high tuition fees on international students (Sanchez-Serra and Marconi 6). As soon as the policy was enacted, the number of international students in the country more than doubled and this shows that many were barred from pursuing their educational interests by the high tuition fees charged initially. In some cases, some international students are forced to abandon their education plans as the tuition fees take a toll on them. Others have to bear with the high tuition fees but their families endure the suffering through increased workload and high-stress levels. While some higher learning institutions offer quality education, they continue to record a reduction in the number of international students admitted due to their high tuition fees. Therefore, high tuition fees are associated with a negative impact on international students due to increased workload and high-stress levels.
High tuition fees are associated with negative impact on international students and their families because they contribute to high-stress levels and increased workload; however, many institutions still charge these students higher tuition fees than national students because these fees help in the funding of tertiary education systems, generate a considerable revenue stream to higher education institutions, and contribute to the specific country’s economy. Past research on the topic has confirmed that many of the higher learning institutions in most countries are reliant on these high tuition fees to fund their daily activities as they are usually short of budget. The revenue collected from the fees; therefore, help to fund their operations, most of which are focused on research and development. While the high fees play a vital role in the running of operations in the higher learning institutions, there is a need for them to reconsider these fees because many students end up being affected despite having education dreams.
Garritzmann, Julian L. The Political Economy of Higher Education Finance: The Politics of Tuition Fees and Subsidies in OECD Countries, 1945-2015. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2016.
Heller, Donald E., and Claire Callender. Student Financing of Higher Education: A comparative perspective. London: Routledge, 2013.
OECD. Education at a Glance 2014: OECD Indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing, 2014.
Sanchez-Serra, Daniel, and Gabrielle Marconi. “Increasing international students’ tuition fees: The two sides of the coin.” International Higher Education, no. 92, 2018: pp. 13-14. https://doi.org/10.6017/ihe.2018.92.10278