Ukrainian students who went to the Canadian province of Saskatchewan under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel program will only have to pay domestic tuition rates instead of full international fees.
The CUAET program offers Ukrainians and their family members free, extended temporary status and allows them to work, study and stay in Canada until it is safe for them to return home.
However, an issue with CUAET is that it does not categorise Ukrainian arrivals as refugees. As a result, those who want to pursue post-secondary education would be required to pay higher international student tuition rates.
As such, Saskatchewan’s government is stepping in to provide the students with the extra funding.
“Saskatchewan is committed to supporting Ukrainians who have come to our province to escape war in their home country,” a spokesperson from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Advanced Education told The PIE News.
“Starting this fall, Ukrainian newcomers who are graduating high school and wish to pursue post-secondary studies and others who want to stay in Saskatchewan to study can now pay domestic tuition rates.”
The spokesperson said that the financial support will help avoid “serious hardship” for those who had to flee Ukraine and are trying to start a new life in Saskatchewan.
International students who did not enter Canada under CUAET are not eligible for this program.
However, the spokesperson noted that post-secondary institutions do offer financial support options to all international students
They said that tuition for international students varies between post-secondary institutions – universities, technical schools and regional colleges – and between programs.
“As a result, the tuition savings provided to Ukrainian CUAET students as part of this announcement will vary,” the spokesperson added.
“Saskatchewan is committed to supporting Ukrainians”
Details of the funding process are currently being determined through collaboration between the Ministry of Advanced Education and post-secondary institutions.
New information will be posted as it becomes available at Saskatchewan.ca, according to the government.
“Our government remains committed to supporting Ukrainians who have come to Saskatchewan seeking refuge from war,” advanced education minister Gordon Wyant said.
“These students are in a unique situation. We want them to be able to continue living here to study at one of our excellent post-secondary institutions without causing severe financial hardship for their families.”
The government said that those who could be eligible to pay domestic tuition include approximately two dozen Ukrainian students who will graduate from high school in Saskatchewan this spring.
“This announcement comes at an opportune time for Ukrainian students who are graduating Grade 12 in Saskatchewan this year and considering their futures,” Saskatchewan-Ukraine Relations Advisory Committee chair Gerald Luciuk said.
“We continue to be grateful for the support of the Saskatchewan government and the many community organisations and individuals who have welcomed and assisted these new arrivals in so many ways.”
“Ukrainian arrivals are contributing in many ways to our communities, our labour force, and the rich cultural fabric of Saskatchewan.
“They deserve an opportunity to study in Saskatchewan, and hopefully become permanent residents and contribute to the growth and future of our province,” Wyant said.
“Ukrainian arrivals are contributing in many ways to our communities”
On social media, there were calls for similar levels of support to be provided for refugees from countries such as Afghanistan and Sudan.
However, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Advanced Education clarified that international students who have refugee status are automatically eligible to pay domestic tuition rates.
Universities Canada told The PIE that it welcomed the policy.
“Universities across Canada welcome refugees and displaced persons on their campuses and help provide valuable settlement services to new Canadians,” Graham Barber, assistant director, international relations at Universities Canada told The PIE.
“We support measures to ease access to post secondary education for all refugees and displaced people.”