The three English-language post-secondary institutions in Ottawa are closely monitoring the situation between Saudi Arabia and Canada as students from the Arab nation are caught in the middle of a spat between the two countries.
According to the three schools, Algonquin College, The University of Ottawa and Carleton University, a combined 415 students could be affected by the new policy, which pulled scholarships from students studying in Canada.
According to Ernest Mulvey, director of the international education centre at Algonquin College, the school currently has 74 Saudi students in programs of study, with 64 of them Saudi sponsored students and 10 who are self-funded. The school previously had built a campus in Saudi Arabia which closed after low enrollment.
“We have had a strong relationship with the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau and will work with them and their sponsored students to meet the students’ current and future academic needs, whether that means students remain at Algonquin to complete their studies or transfer to another institution,” Mulvey said.
Carleton has a slightly larger population of Saudi students, though that number is slightly smaller during the summer semester of study. Though the number is smaller, spokesperson for the university Elizabeth Murphy says it is helping in any way that it can.
“For the winter term 2018, Carleton had 133 students from Saudi Arabia and for summer 2018, we have 95 students,” Murphy said. “Carleton University is evaluating the impact of Saudi Arabia’s decision to recall Saudi scholarship holders studying in Canada. We are monitoring the situation closely and focusing on making sure our students are receiving the information and support they need.”
The University of Ottawa has the largest population of Saudi students by far with 246 Saudi students, 132 of whom are enrolled in graduate science studies, mainly engineering, science and medicine.
“Like all other Canadian universities, the University of Ottawa is monitoring the situation very closely. Our primary concern is the wellbeing of students, said University of Ottawa spokesperson Véronique Vallée.
So far, no numbers on the cost of the withdrawals have been released but all three institutions say they are also monitoring that closely.