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Hundreds of international students in limbo after Scarborough, Ont., college suspends spring enrolment

Published: 05/23/2022

College says it will continue to communicate and support students with their enrolment status

Hundreds of international students who paid a Scarborough college upwards of $15,000 in tuition say their enrolment has been unilaterally suspended — placing their study permits in jeopardy.

Harmanpreet Kaur recently completed her first semester at Alpha College of Business and Technology, an affiliate of St. Lawrence College, when she received an email on May 17 informing her that her spring semester enrolment had been suspended.

Kaur is among dozens of students who have been protesting night and day in front of Alpha College on Kennedy Road.

International students' lives are "totally incomplete without the enrolment letter," she said, as it is "the main proof that we are declared as students in Canada."

Fellow student Ekam Noor says some Alpha students still in India received an offer letter and paid fees, only to be told they would not get an enrolment letter.

"The students who are still in India, who have not come here yet, the college give them an offer letter and they took their fees. They paid around $16,000 for two semesters, and after that they told them that they cannot come to Canada because they are not providing them a letter of enrolment," Noor said.

"That's a problem for them because they have lost their fees and they cannot come here to finish this study."

The students want the college to guarantee in writing that they'll be able to graduate on schedule. However, Alpha president Vivian Liu said a break semester is a typical part of the school year and should not impact students' ability to apply for a post-graduate work permit.

"All students who meet enrolment requirements remain active students," she said in a statement to CBC News released via St. Lawrence College that did not address students' study permit concerns.

Liu said the school proposed "alternative enrolment options" as a result of increased winter and spring semester demands.
'It's really destroying my mental health'

Harmanpreet Kaur says the events of the past week have taken a toll on students' mental health.

"We come from our country to here with lots of dreams, with lots of hope," she said. "Our family, our relatives are not there to support us. It's really destroying my mental health."

Ramanpreet Kaur says everything went smoothly during her first semester, then she got the shocking news.

"I contacted college [and] they said, like, 'we are not enrolling you,'" she said. 

"I was in shock. Like, suddenly, what happened? Everything was all right. I was so depressed."

Read more: Cbc

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