Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

The University of Toronto announced last week that it will slash annual tuition for international PhD students from roughly $23,000 to the much lower domestic rate of roughly $8,000, starting in the fall. Let's hope this becomes a trend.

In some ways, it's a small change. Some "professional" programs will be exempted. And since most PhD students don't pay tuition out of pocket for the first four years of their program because of university funding, the benefit will only start accruing in their fifth year of study.

Still, a savings of $15,000 can be a big deal for a young scholar from Iran or Bangladesh.

Story continues below advertisement

The symbolism of the move is also important. It says to the world's best and brightest that the top research university in Canada's biggest city wants them here – and not just because of the gilded fees they pay.

Yes, there's a slight unfairness to the fact that Canadians will be paying the same tuition as foreign students. But that's similar to the way all public services for immigrants work, and Canadians overwhelmingly think it's worth it.

Plus it's good business. Nearly half of international and permanent-resident PhD students who graduated from U of T since 2000 stayed in Canada, keeping their skills here.

Canada has experienced a recruitment bonanza since Donald Trump's aggressively xenophobic administration took power last year, including a Silicon Valley hiring spree in places like Waterloo and Toronto. Our openness to international talent stands to be a competitive advantage as we hunt for foreign capital in the years ahead.

That's why other schools should be imitating U of T – with government assistance, if money is an object. It's in the interest of McGill, Queen's and others to have the smartest PhD students, regardless of means or nationality. It's in Canada's interest, too.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies