International students protest against 9.2 per cent tuition increase

A group of international students decided to take a stand against the raise of international tuition by collecting signatures Tuesday, April 14 and Friday, April 17 outside DC library. Over 300 signatures were collected.</p>

“We compare the recent increase to previous UW tuition,” said fourth-year geomatics student Homer Zhang.  “[The biggest reason for this protest] is that the 9.2 per cent increase is unprecedented, unpredictable in recent years, and thus, unacceptable.”

He said Waterloo is not the only university with unjust international tuition.

“As a group, our view is that the international tuition in Ontario is too high everywhere,” Zhang said. He said he believes international students should not have to pay more than the extra 40 per cent that the government subsidizes for domestic students.

“We know that the government subsidizes 40 per cent of the domestic tuition, so we believe that international students can pay 40 per cent more than domestic students, but not more than that,” Zhang said.

By collecting signatures, the protesting students are requesting the reversal of the 9.2 per cent tuition increase and an international student tuition freeze.

WPIRG called the large increase in tuition a social justice issue.

“These students came to us first because they thought the tuition was high,” WPIRG board member Brandon Love said.

 “High-end tuition creates an inaccessible situation for certain students, especially international students who pay a really high tuition,” Love said.

When asked about how effective he thought the protest would be, Zhang said, “I think we have to try.”

“Once more people get involved, the more pressure [it will be too],” said Lynne Meng, a third-year software engineering student.

“I think, [a petition] can be effective, but it has to be combined with [other methods] to show that there is support among international students,” Love said. “I think having a bunch of international students come out to the board of governors meeting in June could be an effective way — as well as the petition — to show that there is actual support amongst international students.”

Zhang said he hopes to collect at least 1,000 signatures in the course of the protest, but he is also hoping for more: “I think we want more people to support us, not just sign their signature, but also participate in organizing those events [and telling] their friends about it.”