STATEMENT: Professors say Ontario government must address funding gap from international student cap

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TORONTO, January 23, 2024 – The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations called on the provincial government to step up their investment in postsecondary education following a federal announcement capping the number of approved international student visas.

Ontario universities and colleges rely heavily on tuition fees from international students—which are significantly higher than domestic tuition fees—to offset gross underfunding from the provincial government.

“For too long, the Ontario government has cut off revenue streams and allowed bad actors in the postsecondary system to unfairly treat international students like ATMs,” said Nigmendra Narain, OCUFA President. “To address these bad actors and support our world-class education system, the way forward is for the provincial government to adequately fund our public system.”

OCUFA is calling on the province to increase annual funding for Ontario universities by 11.75 per cent over the next five years. The federal government estimated the reduction of international students in Ontario could be greater than 50 per cent of the current population.

“The change in policy means that robust, sustainable provincial government funding for postsecondary education is even more urgent to ensure the continued quality of our system,” said Narain. “The province must act now and increase university operating funding.”

“The Ford government’s own Blue-Ribbon panel on the future of higher education recognized the need for more government funding for our public institutions, and the province needs to pay attention,” said Jenny Ahn, OCUFA Executive Director. “We are still waiting for the government’s response to the panel’s final report, and it’s time to take important steps towards securing the future of our world-class university system.”

OCUFA will submit its pre-budget submission to the Ontario government’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs this month to offer solutions for a thriving public postsecondary sector.

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 18,000 faculty, academic librarians, and other academic professionals in 31 member organizations across Ontario. It is committed to enhancing the quality of higher education in Ontario and recognizing the outstanding contributions of its members towards creating a world-class university system. For more information, please visit the OCUFA website at

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