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Canada Luring Students From U.S. With Lower Tuition Costs

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DETROIT (WWJ) - If college here in metro Detroit is breaking the bank, consider an international option and cross the border. WWJ’s Kathryn Larson has more on why savvy education shoppers are putting Canadian universities on their short list.

It’s an education with a view. At St. Clair College in Windsor, Vice President John Fairley’s favorite spot is four stories above their fine arts center, overlooking the Detroit River.

“The border is no longer a barrier for higher education. Just a river away, but the future could be endless for someone who needs a degree,” he said. “Fifteen percent of our inquiries for the fall are some of the people from the Michigan area.”

As tuition costs here in America continue to rise, Fairley said it’s apparent that students from the metro Detroit area are ready to dip their toes in an economical and affordable college option.

“When you’re looking at having an education, less than $7,000. That’s, again, capable to take you everywhere. You can start at St. Clair College and go everywhere,” he said.

Alan Wildeman, President and Vice-Chancellor of nearby University of Windsor, said an education with them could also take you everywhere for a similar price tag, and now with an international discount.

“So we are introducing a special fee for students from the U.S. who might want to come and study at the University of Windsor, and it is the U.S. Neighbor Fee,” he said.

Under the U.S. Neighbor Fee, the university will offer American students a tuition fee of $5,000 per semester beginning Sept. 2013. Wildeman said American students can now save up to $5,000 per semester compared to the international fees they were previously paying.

“Students can choose where they wish to go a lot more easily and they can choose, if they wish, to put the ‘U’ in ‘neighbour,'” he said.

Wildeman said the school will launch recruitment efforts in Michigan in the weeks ahead, and a strategic marketing campaign will launch later in 2014. Currently, only 83 U.S. students attend the University of Windsor, but the school is hoping a neighborly discount will pay off.

“We’re in a very unique spot and I tell my colleagues across Canada that I’m actually south of the U.S., and they have to do a double take and think about it, but we are. So there’s this huge population base that’s right there, it’s to the north,” Wildeman said.

It’s not just on the administration level, either. First year university student Hannon Rickets thinks that northern population could do a lot of good for their campus.

“If there is the neighborly incentive then we’ll get a lot more students and our programs will expand,” he said.

Freshman Nayeli Sanchez said she’s excited about making new friends from a different country.

“We’ll have more people from the U.S. here, definitely. You have to travel in order to get a better education, or a cheaper one in this case,” she said.

Neuroscience graduate student Brennan Coristine said his advice to college seekers is to seriously consider Canada.

“I think it would be a great idea. You save a little cash, you get an education and certainly comparable to any education you’ll get in the states,” he said.

For more information on St. Clair College, visit www.stclaircollege.ca.

For more information on University of Windsor, visit www.uwindsor.ca.

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