Hundreds of international students in limbo after college in Scarborough, Ont. suspended spring enrollment


Hundreds of international students who have paid more than $15,000 in tuition to a Scarborough college say their enrollment has been unilaterally suspended, putting their study permits at risk.

Harmanpreet Kaur had recently completed her first semester at Alpha College of Business and Technology, an affiliate of St. Lawrence College, when she received an email on May 17 informing her that her spring semester enrollment had been suspended.

Kaur is one of dozens of students protesting day and night outside Alpha College on Kennedy Road.

The life of international students is “totally incomplete without the registration letter”, she said, as it is “the main proof that we are declared students in Canada”.

Harmanpreet Kaur is one of dozens of students protesting day and night outside Alpha College in Scarborough. (Radio Canada)

Classmate Ekam Noor says some Alpha students still in India received an offer letter and paid fees, only to be told they would not receive an enrollment letter.

“The students who are still in India, who haven’t come here yet, the college gave them an offer letter and they took their fees. They paid around $16,000 for two semesters, and after that they told them they couldn’t come to Canada because they don’t provide them with a letter of registration,” Noor said.

“It’s a problem for them because they lost their fees and they can’t come here to complete this study.”

Ekam Noor wants Alpha College to guarantee, in writing, that he and other students will be able to graduate on time. (Radio Canada)

Students want the college to guarantee in writing that they will be able to graduate on time. However, Alpha President Vivian Liu said a semester break is a typical part of the school year and should not impact students’ ability to apply for a post-graduate work permit. .

“All students who meet the enrollment requirements remain active students,” she said in a statement to CBC News released via St. Lawrence College that did not address student permit concerns. studies.

Liu said the school is offering “alternative enrollment options” due to increased demand for the winter and spring semesters.

“It’s really destroying my sanity”

Harmanpreet Kaur says the events of the past week have taken a toll on the mental health of students.

“We come from our country here with a lot of dreams, with a lot of hope,” she said. “Our family, our loved ones are not there to support us. It really destroys my mental health.”

Ramanpreet Kaur says everything went well during her first semester and then she learned the shocking news.

“I contacted the college [and] they said, like, ‘we’re not signing you up,'” she said.

“I was in shock. Like, all of a sudden, what happened? Everything was fine. I was so depressed.”

Ramanpreet Kaur says everything went well during her first semester at Alpha College, then she got the shocking news that she wouldn’t be enrolling for Spring 2022. (Radio Canada)

The Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities is aware of the situation, a spokesperson told CBC News.

Rashi Jain says the ministry has been in contact with St. Lawrence College and understands the college and its affiliate are working to find solutions for affected students.

“The ministry understands that all affected students for the spring 2022 semester are being accommodated,” Jain wrote in an email.

Study permits for international students are a federal responsibility, Jain said, but federal guidelines state that study permit holders can take a leave of absence of up to 150 days and still be considered actively pursuing their studies.

We can’t believe their pledges because they keep telling us different things every day and we just can’t believe them.– Ekam Noor, Student, Alpha College of Business Technology

But Noor, one of the students who opted out, said the trust was broken, adding that the students had received mixed messages from the college.

“The only thing we want from this college is for them to give us written proof that they are going to finish our degree here and then let us finish our degree and they will never do anything like that again at the future,” Noor said. .

“We can’t believe their pledges because they keep telling us different things every day and we just can’t believe them.”