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500 acceptance letters revoked at school in Ontario

Ontario-based Northern College has revoked over 500 acceptance letters it previously sent to international students waiting to study at its partner campus. 

Over 500 acceptance letters have been revoked just a month before term are due to start. Photo: Pexels

Pures put the blame on its public partner affiliate for the issue

The students involved were due to take up places at Pures College of Technology, in Scarborough, Ontario – the subject of a public-private partnership with Northern College. 

The decision was made after Northern College saw “too many visa applications” had been accepted, leading courses to be oversubscribed. 

“We did not make [the decision] lightly or in haste, and [we are aware] that it is causing much concern and inconvenience for those students and their families,” president and CEO of Northern College Audrey J. Penner told The PIE News in a statement.

“When we learned that the programs at Pures College of Technology had exceeded capacity, we made the difficult decision to revoke admission for 503 students,” she explained. 

Current directives in place in Ontario state that a college’s “total partnership international student enrolment” across all partnership campuses must not exceed 7,500 students. 

Northern College has likely exceeded this number through its partnership with Pures College of Technology, according to Earl Blaney, an agent and immigration consultant based in Canada.

The total number of study permit applications that were submitted to IRCC in 2021 by Northern College was 5,210 – 3,597 of those were approved. In 2022, 10,544 were made with 5,768 approved. 

“97% of SP applicants headed to Northern College were Indian in 2022. The 2023 data set [is still not available] for 2023 but a safe bet is the numbers will show a further steep intake increase,” Blaney noted in a LinkedIn post discussing the issue. 

A spokesperson from Pures has told The PIE that international student numbers at Pures has “never exceeded the ministry directive”.

“The total number of international students is well below that ceiling and Pures College always had the capacity to accommodate these students whose admissions were revoked,” they claimed.

“We continue to work with students impacted by this decision to find options for them to pursue their studies, and remain committed to operating within the directives set by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.”

Blaney added that “Northern College and their overseas agent network have been dumping study permit applications at IRCC missions like nobody’s business”.

In a conversation with The PIE, he said that Pures had a particular history of oversubscription – the usual ratio permitted for admitting students through the partnership is 2:1, but on his last revision, they were 9:1. 

“It seems to me Northern College exceeded even that 7,500 figure, which was thousands more than they had even when they were violating the 2:1 ratio,” Blaney said. 

“If that’s what happened, it’s shocking because it seems like the Ministry of Colleges and Universities is very serious about administering that directive now. In the past they’ve published directives and done nothing.

“It’s an encouraging sign, but it’s really bad for the student,” he said. 

One student, who talked to CBC Toronto, said her place on an healthcare administration course at Pures place had been revoked in early August, just a month before she was due to start her studies, despite receiving an acceptance letter in February. 

“The Ministry of Colleges and Universities is very serious about administering this directive”

The student said the move was “heartbreaking” for her, especially considering she had already paid registration fees, quit her day job in healthcare and booked her $2,200 flights from India.

Chris Busch, assistant VP of enrolment management at the University of Windsor, said on LinkedIn that it is a stark warning to institutions about how they enrol students. 

“[It] serves a poignant reminder about the profound impact of flawed international strategic enrolment strategies and the need for constant vigilance and improvement in this critical area,” he said.

Penner argued in her statement that the program wouldn’t be able to move forward with the level of students that were originally subscribed. “A program that is stretched beyond capacity will not provide the quality of educational experience that our students deserve,” she said.

“Over 50% have either selected refunds or were not continuing. Some applicants had either not secured visas, not yet paid their fees or [had] already withdrawn their applications,” she said. 

“For the remaining students, we are working diligently with them to find alternative solutions”

Pures put the blame on its public partner affiliate for the issue, saying Northern College made the decision and that Pures was ready to “accept all international students who received letters of admission”.

The private college had also “scheduled the Fall semester students for study” before the acceptances were revoked. 

“For the remaining students, we are working diligently with them to find alternative solutions.

“[This includes] transferring to another of Northern College’s multiple campuses; deferring their admission; transferring their acceptance to another post-secondary institution; or providing a full or partial refund for any tuition fees already paid,” Penner insisted. 

It was not mentioned by Northern College which post-secondary institutions may be partaking in accepting those students. 

“Northern College is committed to providing a high-quality, post-graduate work permit-eligible education. This has been and remains our top priority,” she added.

Update August 22, 16:25 GMT: Story updated with a comment from Pures.

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5 Responses to 500 acceptance letters revoked at school in Ontario

  1. It is deeply concerning to witness the rampant malpractices prevailing within several Canadian post-secondary institutions when it comes to the recruitment of international students. The focus on revenue generation seems to have overshadowed the fundamental purpose of delivering quality education and meaningful career opportunities.

    It is disheartening to see how these institutions prioritize quantity over quality, luring international students with false promises and superficial programs that lack depth and real-world applicability. Many students arrive with high hopes and dreams, only to be met with sub-standard education that does not equip them with the necessary skills for a successful career.

    Moreover, the ethical and professional standards of these institutions are questionable at best. The exploitation of international students as mere cash cows undermines the integrity of the education system and tarnishes Canada’s reputation as a destination for quality education.

    The impact of these practices is far-reaching and affects thousands of international students in detrimental ways. Many are left with crippling debt and shattered aspirations, unable to secure meaningful employment in their chosen fields, which leads to financial hardship and takes an emotional toll on these individuals who were promised a brighter future.

    It is high time that Canadian authorities take a strong stance against such malpractices and enforce strict regulations to ensure that educational institutions uphold the highest standards of quality, transparency, and ethical conduct. The focus should shift from revenue generation to providing an enriching and empowering educational experience that prepares students for their careers.

    International students deserve better. They deserve an education worth the investment and equips them with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to thrive in the global job market. We must condemn these unethical practices and advocate for a change that puts education and students’ well-being at the forefront. Only through genuine reform can we restore the integrity and value of Canadian education for both domestic and international students.

  2. These admin managers should lose their jobs with the business development managers as well. It is too easy for them to cancel the enrollments for 100s of students, since nothing changes in their own lives! they do not lose money, they still get their bonuses! The regulator will continue sitting on their hands! but most importantly many student advocates will stay silent as well! Other agents will continue sending students to both colleges, so at the end of the day, nothing changes for those people at Northern or Pures but just the students are suffering!

  3. As a Canadian living in Northern Ontario attending Northern College as a second year student, I recommend staying in India. There is a housing crisis in Canada. An Opioid crisis in Canada. And health crisis in Canada. And It’s only getting worse. And you won’t find employment either. It’s not that great of a country anymore.

    What is awesome about this situation is you don’t have to come to Canada to get a great education! You can stay in India and have a great education. A better one.

    No need to move to Canada. And remember, no one is forcing you to come to another country for education. If you can afford to come to Canada to get education you are richer than me already. I could never afford to get education in another country! So keep the wealth in Inda. Get a job in India and stay with your people. You will be better off. Honestly.

  4. Stay in India, use your money to get a good education without stress and being with your patents. Get a good job and you can have a good lifestyle like many Indians. Canada has become expensive. It’s not what it used to be.

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