The news of three universities in the Canadian province of Quebec closing abruptly this month has left many students feeling deceived and uncertain. M College in Montreal, CDE College in Sherbrooke and CCSQ College in Longueuil had asked for large tuition fees before shutting their doors. The institutions, all led by Rising Phoenix International Inc, had received millions of dollars as student tuition fees before closing abruptly. Students who are considering higher education in Canada are urged to do their due diligence when researching the credentials and reputation of the school they are applying to.
The three universities had more than 700 Indian students, according to a report published in Immigration News Canada. The Indian High Commission has warned Indian students to conduct thorough checks of the institution's credentials and position before applying for admission and making any payments. International students from India often choose to study in Canada due to Ottawa's relaxed immigration policies and the acceptance of Canadians to people of diverse cultures according to Immigration. Students from the three universities were reportedly asked to pay outstanding fees (from 9 lakh to 17.7 lakh rupees) in advance, just before the universities closed for winter holidays on 30 November.
The High Commission said it has been in close contact with the federal government of Canada, the provincial government of Quebec and Canadian representatives of the Indian community to provide support to affected students and to resolve this issue. It is reported that 1,173 students were studying in person at the three universities in Montreal, while 637 were taking online classes from home in Punjab and elsewhere. The three universities, M College in Montreal, CDE College in Sherbrooke and CCSQ College in Longueuil, shortly after pushing up deadlines for tuition fees and requiring students to pay sizeable amounts all of a sudden, issued a notice to students earlier this month that they would close completely. The institutions applied for creditor protection and blamed their financial crisis on the coronavirus disease (Covid-1 pandemic). The application for creditor protection comes just over a year after Quebec began investigating several private universities, including M College and CDE College, for questionable recruitment practices for students in India.
The three universities involved were led by the same recruitment company, Rising Phoenix International (RPI) Inc, according to a report by CBC News from Canada. Manjot Singh from Amritsar, who was pursuing a course in network administration, said his parents had raised Rs 17,52-lakh in loan for his university fee. In light of these events, it is important for prospective international students to be aware of their rights and responsibilities when researching higher education options abroad. It is essential that they research the credentials and reputation of any institution they are considering applying to. Additionally, it is important that they understand their rights as international students and be aware of any potential risks associated with studying abroad.
The Canadian government has taken steps to ensure that international students are protected from fraudulent activities by instituting regulations that require institutions offering programs to international students to be accredited by an appropriate authority. Additionally, international students should be aware of their rights under Canadian law and should contact their local consulate or embassy if they have any questions or concerns about their rights or safety while studying abroad. Solidarity protests have been held across Canada demanding justice for the more than 2,000 international students who have been left in crisis since 3 private universities (CCSQ, M College, CDE) & a connected recruitment company in Montreal went bankrupt. It is important that international students are aware of their rights when studying abroad and take steps to protect themselves from fraudulent activities.