FPJ Exclusive: Huron University Plans 61 Million Dollar Residence Amidst Canada Housing Crisis, Reassures Indian Students

FPJ Exclusive: Huron University Plans 61 Million Dollar Residence Amidst Canada Housing Crisis, Reassures Indian Students

As nearly 40% of Canada’s international students come from India, it’s expected that the visa cap, along with the ongoing India-Canada diplomatic row can hurt Canada’s higher education sector.

Sunidhi VijayUpdated: Wednesday, February 07, 2024, 12:31 PM IST
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Dr. Barry Craig | Special Arrangement

While Canada is putting a two-year cap on the number of international students amid its rising housing crisis, citing that this move will protect students from certain colleges charging exorbitant fees for mediocre services and allow them the chance to get the deserving resources, Huron University is planning to open a C$61 million state-of-the-art students’ residence in September.

As nearly 40% of Canada’s international students come from India, it’s expected that the visa cap, along with the ongoing India-Canada diplomatic row can hurt Canada’s higher education sector.

However, Barry Craig, the president of Huron University, is optimistic that the India-Canada diplomatic row is going to be a temporary hiccup and then there will be business as usual.

In an interview with The Free Press Journal (FPJ), Craig discussed how Huron University plans to attract more Indian students to its campus and resolve the issue of housing by providing them with accommodation.

FPJ: Amid the India-Canada diplomatic row and the cap on international students, how does Huron University aim to tackle the entire issue?

Craig: I think most people realise that these sorts of tensions arise from time to time between nations, even ones like Canada and India, which have deep and historic ties of friendship. As the politicians work out their differences, we aim to reassure Indian schools and, importantly, Indian families, that we welcome Indian students and treasure the contributions that they make to Canadian universities. The visa issues are actually being addressed, following the difficulties that arose in the wake of Covid. We have an excellent diplomatic team in India and they are working as hard as they can to ensure that qualified Indian students receive their visas in a timely manner.

FPJ: Can you elaborate on your latest visit to India? What are some of the areas of possible collaborations we can expect between Huron University and Indian institutions?

Craig: Huron University has developed a strong relationship with India over the years. In 2023, I visited India six times and am already making my first visit in 2024. While here, we meet with top Indian schools in Mumbai, Indore, and Delhi. On other trips, we have included Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Dehradun, among others. The purpose is to recruit top students from the top schools and explain to stakeholders, from both the education and business holders, what unique opportunities Huron University presents. We also meet with top-ranked post-secondary institutions to explore exchange programmes and research collaborations between Huron and them.

FPJ: Does the university provide accommodation to all international students? Or is there any alternative solution that the university is looking at?

Craig: All incoming students at Huron are guaranteed a room in our own hostels, which are all located right on our campus. This September we will open a new $61 million state-of-the-art residence. We ensure that our newly arriving international students are housed in a safe, affordable and comfortable fashion with access to specialised services within Huron’s supportive community.

FPJ: Are there any scholarship opportunities for Indian students? Also, could you shed light on some of the most popular courses in your institution?

Craig: Huron offers financial aid at a level that is 50% above the national average. We lead Canadian universities in the amount of need-based aid that we offer to international students. We are a small boutique liberal arts university, with very high admissions standards, but we are committed to being a diverse community. If we only admit affluent students, we fail at our vision of diversity. So, we work with partners, including the Karta Initiative here in India to ensure that outstanding students, of limited means, can receive a first-class education.

In order to ensure excellence across the curriculum, we only offer two degrees: a BA, which includes all of the traditional liberal arts disciplines (history, literature, psychology, mathematics, languages, political science, etc., as well as several unique multidisciplinary programmes) and a Bachelor of Management degree. Both degrees are equally popular.

To ensure that our students can progress to employment after graduation, we offer 100% of our students a paid internship. In fact, many of these are at prestigious international companies so that as they learn in the classroom our students are receiving the crucial work experience (and professional connections) that they need to move seamlessly into the jobs they seek upon graduation.

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