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University of Calgary waives application fee for those affected by US travel ban

The university's offer to consider new applicants, transfer students, and visiting scholars is in line with Canada’s strategy to make citizenship easier for international students
BY Braingain Staff Writer |   03-02-2017
The University of Calgary’s annual ‘President’s stampede’ barbecue marks the end of the old academic year and the start of a new one (image by Reg Tiangha, used under CC license)

The University of Calgary will not charge application fees to citizens of the seven countries named in the US ‘Muslim ban’, according to a CBC News report. Those countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

The report quoted university officials as saying on Thursday that the University of Calgary’s move sought to “ensure students have every opportunity to pursue or complete their studies”. It added that the officials said the university would consider new applicants, as well as those who are currently in the United States and wish to either transfer, or attend as visiting students.

The application fee for admission to the University of Calgary can be as much as $145.

On January 29 – two days after the Trump administration’s executive order – Universities Canada issued a statement condemning the ban, and noting that it affected students, faculty and staff at its 97 member universities.

“The executive order restricting travel into the US affects research partnerships, international studies, academic conference participation, field visits and in some cases family relationships of our university students, faculty and staff. The new order is having an impact on Canadian campuses and communities that is real, immediate and profound.”

The statement added that it supported the American Association of Universities’ call for the ban to “end as quickly as possible”.

The Universities Canada statement came in the wake of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s response to the ban, saying Canada would not discriminate on the basis of faith.

Just a day before US President Donald Trump’s executive order, The New York Times ran a story about the Canadian government’s strategy to counter demographic trends – an aging population and slowing birthrate – by attracting well-educated, skilled workers through the university system. It noted that in November, it took steps to make it easier for international students to become citizens. A bill pending in the Senate calls for counting half the time a student spends studying in Canada towards the residency period required for citizenship, the report added.

In the 2015-16 academic year, Canada’s international student population grew 8 percent to more than 350,000, the New York Times report said, adding that this was equal to roughly 1% of the country’s population. By contrast, it noted, the number of international students in the US was less than 0.33% of the population.

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