The president of Okanagan College said the school estimates that if its 65 new and returning students from Saudi Arabia don’t attend the school next year, its revenue will decrease by $850,000.
Because of an escalating foreign policy dispute between their country and Canada, Saudi students may leave Canadian schools en masse.
“At Okanagan College, we are nothing if not resilient and we will do whatever it takes to make up that revenue if that comes to pass,” college president Jim Hamilton said.
“This is still a developing agenda. We are not sure where this is going to end up.”
Such a move would also be disruptive for the students themselves.
The college said it hasn’t received any official word yet that Saudi students won’t be attending.
The University of British Columbia Okanagan wouldn’t make anyone available for an interview or disclose how many Saudi students are enrolled, but in a written statement the school said that it is “working to clarify the situation and determine how many current and incoming UBC students might be affected.”
Local Liberal MP Stephen Fuhr was at Okanagan College on Tuesday to tout his government’s investments in education.
However, despite the potential impact of his government’s foreign policy on local schools and students studying in Okanagan, Fuhr said he stands behind Canada’s foreign affairs minister.
“Saudi Arabia has had a pretty shady record on human rights for a long time and nobody’s really publicly called them on it. This is not my area; this is Minister Freeland’s. I think she has done a fantastic job at pointing out the obvious,” Fuhr said.