This was said by One Voice Canada, a non-profit organization that helps vulnerable international students CBC News that in cases where students wanted to leave and get a refund, colleges pushed back and in some cases were deceptive.
A report from the CBC highlighted problems at Vancouver Career College and Granville College. Both institutions were accused of misleading students and making it difficult for them to get reimbursement.
One student went to Granville College and enrolled in the hospitality management program, but said her hour-long classes were only 10 minutes long.
The student decided to withdraw 10 days after her program started. The student reportedly paid $11,000 in tuition, but the college offered him a $900 refund.
The college claimed that it had only paid part of the tuition, although the confirmation showed that it had paid in full.
Granville College said in a statement responding to the allegations CBC News the college “addressed her concerns and resolved the matter amicably”.
CBC spoke with another student from Punjab, India, who enrolled at Vancouver Career College for a six-month program.
The student was supposed to be taught for four hours, but soon after the course started, the teaching time started to decrease.
The college accepted her withdrawal, but required the student to pay the remainder of the tuition, which amounted to $9,704.28, stating that she had completed more than 30% of the course and thus had to pay 100% of the tuition.
The college argued that the refund was based on the student’s last day of attendance, June 24, not the date she requested the withdrawal a week earlier.
According to the report, CBC also calculated the reimbursement using scheduled instructional time instead of actual instructional time.
CBC News contacted Vancouver Career College about the allegations, but was told that “for privacy reasons, [they] do not comment on individual student information”.
The student filed the case with BC’s Private Training Institutions Branch, which is part of the Ministry of Advanced Education.
The PTIB ruled in June 2022 that Vancouver Career College “misled the complainant as to the number of hours of instruction provided.”
The decision meant the student did not have to pay the $9,704.28 the college claimed she owed.
“Against the context of misleading expectations promoted by education agencies, the declining quality of educational provision upon arrival, as well as general problems with immigration processing schedules, it should come as no surprise that refund requests are on the rise,” immigration consultant and policy analyst Earl. Blaney said PIE News.
“For the most part, the students are not to blame”
“The decision to penalize students for such requests, to make such requests inaccessible or to impose outrageous fines is misguided, largely the fault of the students.”
Blaney said if the institution the students arrived at met their expectations, there would be far fewer requests for refunds.
“It is clear that provincial government agencies (responsible for maintaining the quality of ‘Brand Canada’ through their role in managing the respective provincial DLI registration lists) have standards that fall far short of consumer expectations of what Brand Canada should represent,” added Blaney .
PIE understands that BC’s Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills is aware of the concerns raised about the two institutions and that they will continue to look into allegations whenever concerns are raised about student protection.
The Department for Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills is currently working to ensure that the government can respond quickly if private institutions promote or offer substandard education to students.
He plans to continue to develop protections for international students that support their fair treatment across the sector and looks forward to having more say as the work progresses.
The Department has also developed a sustainable, student-centred strategic international education framework which will be available soon.