Trying To Attract International Students

LKDSB Director Jim Costello. file photo

Members of the Lambton Kent District School Board are heading to Taiwan, Korea and China in hopes of attracting more international students to the region.

While international students do bring in extra cash and increase numbers across a board that is dealing with declining enrollment, Director of Education Jim Costello says there are other benefits.

“We’d like to grow the program and expand it. We currently get in the neighbourhood of 30-40 students a year, but we have room across our 64 schools next year so we know we have plenty of opportunity to place students to benefit our students,” says Costello, who notes it teaches local kids about life overseas. “Some of the challenges exist where we have competing boards around us as more and more people open up international education programs. They offer discounts, they offer lower tuition, and they increase the commissions to the agents. It’s a competitive business, like another business.”

During the 2013-14 school year, the LKDSB made $230,000 off international student tuition rates. The four members of the LKDSB will head overseas for ten days come September, at a cost of $15,000-$20,000.

Officials say it is very important to meet the coordinators face-to-face to develop a respectful relationship, ensure safety and build trust.