Langley international students wait in limbo

They have paid thousands in tuition fees, but haven't had any classes yet, because of the teachers' strike.

With the school district’s annual budget relying heavily on international students, Langley administrators are hoping the strike doesn’t hurt enrolment next year.

Already a few students have withdrawn from the program in Langley because of the strike, the district confirmed.

The nearly 700 international students who are in Langley have not been provided with any instruction this year despite paying hefty fees to be here. The strike, keeping schools closed, is in its third week.

“We held a few orientation events but there has been no instruction,” said Langley School District spokesperson Ken Hoff. “We remain hopeful school will be back in session sometime soon but in the meantime, our international students are just as frustrated as all our students.”

Principals and vice-principals in a few other school districts have been offering some programming and class instruction to international students.

In Langley, some international students have withdrawn from the program because of the strike, Hoff confirmed.

The school district heavily relies on revenue from the international students in their annual budget and the strike could cost B.C. school boards millions if international students decided to go elsewhere.

“It’s always a concern that this will damage the reputation of the international program,” he said.

At one of the last school board meetings, members of the team that organize the international student program said it has exceeded expectations in the number of students coming to Langley from other countries for this school year, and the district had budgeted accordingly.

International students can ask for tuition refunds until Sept. 30, according to a letter to the editor (The Times, Sept. 2) from Ming Hu, who works with Langley international students.

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