Low loonie leaves Americans more cash to burn

    (Book Sadprasid/AQ)

    When Halley Phillips went to pay tuition this semester, she was shocked. The fourth-year St. Thomas University student was getting money back.

    (Book Sadprasid/AQ)
    (Book Sadprasid/AQ)

    As an international student from Hartland, Maine, Phillips is charged more than $13,000 a year for tuition at STU compared to Canadian students who pay $5,552. But the exchange rate was in her favour this semester.

    “Because of the exchange rate, I got a lot more money than I was expecting from my student loans. I got a little over $4,000 dollars back,” she said.

    In comparison, during Phillips’s second year she lost a lot of money because the Canadian dollar was stronger.

    “It sucked because it made going to school here seem more expensive and one of the reasons for going to school in Canada is to avoid highly priced US schools.”

    STU recruiter Kaylee Moore has been using the strong U.S. dollar as a recruiting tactic on prospective U.S. students this semester.

    This year, international tuition was $13,192 but in U.S. dollars right now that’s approximately $10,500, said Moore.

    “That’s a really low tuition for U.S. students,” said Moore. “It’s a great selling point to say if you are interested in studying out of state but looking for a price point that could be comparable to in-state tuition, then this could be a really good opportunity for you.”

    Moore said a lot of people don’t realize the difference of the exchange rate.

    “I think until you’re paying expenses from one country to another that you realize how serious it can be.”

    Moore is from Wolfboro, New Hampshire and graduated from STU last year.

    “I do remember being a student when the U.S. dollar was stronger and going home for the summer and being able to work and try to make as much money as I could because then I could come up to school and make a profit,” she said. “I’d basically get a whole new pay cheque just from exchanging my money.”

    Moore said she never thought the Canadian dollar would get so low, but she does realize it could very easily go up again.

    “I do hope that it comes back up, but then again as I am recruiting I don’t want to be telling students they will save a lot of money and then suddenly the market flips and then they end up paying more.”

    Moore said she tells students and parents this as a cautionary note.


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