Canadian education post-U.S.election

Photo by Alex Debets

Danny Elser of UOIT men's hockey team poses with the Canadian flag.


Neither Durham College nor UOIT has seen an increase in American student applications since U.S. President Donald Trump’s election in November.

University of Toronto and McMaster University have both seen an increase in applications since the election in November, but those numbers do not hold true for the two Durham schools. UOIT currently has three American students enrolled, and Durham College has six.

That is a small number compared to the 800 and 600 college international students at the university and college respectively.

One of the three university students is Danny Elser, a centre for the Ridgebacks men hockey team. He was born in Hopewell Junction, N.Y., and has played hockey in Sweden, Canada, and the U.S.

Elser enjoys being in Canada, although he wouldn’t live in Canada if it wasn’t for hockey.

“I moved away from home when I was 13 to play hockey and to go to prep school,” he says, “so if I wasn’t playing hockey I would probably stay home.”

Elser says he doesn’t notice any cultural differences between the neighbouring countries, except the emphasis on collegiate sports.

“I have siblings that go to school back home, in the States,” he says. “I think in terms of sports it’s a little bit popular, NCAA sports.”

Both schools have seen a similar number of applications over past years. For example, UOIT has steadily seen 12 – 16 applications over the past three years and sits at 16 for the 2016-17 school year.

The university began increasing recruitment south of the border last year, after realizing a weaker Canadian dollar could be appealing for American students. Joe Stokes is the associate registrar for the university, and says he wishes he could connect these efforts to applications, but the numbers aren’t there.

“I would love to say that our little experiment last year into the United States, where we got a whole bunch of students from upstate New York, because we were there,” says Stokes, “but really they’re just coming from all over the place.”

The university doesn’t focus too heavily on attracting American students. The five biggest areas of focus for recruitment are the Caribbean, China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

But when they do apply, Stokes says, applications from the United States to have “no rhyme or reason,” adding the university sees applications from Texas, New York, and California, in all programs across the board.

Program preference from other countries varies. Typically, based on the country of origins economic state, according to Stokes.

“China or Saudi Arabia, some of our larger populations, are really interested in engineering and business, but from a place like the Caribbean we see, a lot of in business as well, but a lot of social sciences,” he says.

As for the college, it has not seen any significant data relating to applications from the United States, according to Aldo Mendizabal, the manager of international recruitment. The post-secondary community in Durham sees more students from the Caribbean, India, and Mexico.

Mendizabal says a college education in Canada is different than an American college education, and U.S. students are more likely to apply to universities here because they align more closely with the American state university system.