September 28, 2013 - 11:27 AM
KAMLOOPS – International students in the halls of Kamloops schools are turning the district a tidy little profit but the district is hoping for even more as it looks to more than double the program over the next several years and improve the profitability of the program.
Tuition from international students earned School District 73 a profit of about $130,000 for 2013, up from only $50,000 in 2012, which currently accounts for only seven or eight per cent of total profits, according to Secretary Treasurer Kelvin Stretch.
Foreign students pay between $10,500 and $12,000 to attend school in the city while the province only provides districts with about $6,900 per local student. The international student program accounted for nearly $1.5 million in revenues for 2013, up about $400,000 over the year before.
“They pay a lot more money than what we receive from the B.C. Government,” Stretch notes of where the extra funds go. “So we provide some additional things for the international students.”
These funds help cover the costs of additional teachers, currently just under four full-time positions, the home stay program for the students, marketing of the program and extra curricular activities. Stretch says they try to provide a full cultural experience for the students, which means monthly field trips to places such as Sun Peaks and Wells Gray so they can fully immerse themselves in Canadian culture.
The district is starting to see a lot more students from South America but have also seen students from other places like Germany, Russia and Japan over the past several years. Stretch notes it is a matter of getting in to those markets to let communities know about the opportunities in Kamloops, especially with one of the largest international university student programs nearby.
Stretch says they have been working with Thompson Rivers University to reach out to students that may be interested in taking Grade 12 in Kamloops before going on to the university for post secondary education.
Similar programs are popular in larger centres and the Mainland sees a lot more students but even areas like Vernon average about 200 students per year, and that is a goal the local district is hoping to reach.
“It's very good for the district, (the program) brings international flavour to local kids and also provides jobs,” Stretch says. “The more students the better.”
Currently most international students attend Sahali Secondary when they come to Kamloops, but South Kam, NorKam and even Valleyview also host international students.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013