Bonnie Roller Routley, secretary-treasurer for the Okanagan Skaha School District, goes over some of the figures in their final 2016-17 budget document. Steve Kidd/Western News

International tuition far exceeds SD67 budget

Over 90 full-time-equivalent students generated nearly $1.1 million, compared to $750,000 budgeted

The Okanagan Skaha School District has seen a major success in this last year’s international students program, which brought in well over the anticipated tuition.

In a review of the 2016/17 school year during a business committee meeting, School District 67 board trustees learned the budgeted $750,000 from international tuitions fell well below the actual revenues generated from the program, at just under $1.1 million.

But excess funds generated last year won’t be going directly back into the school district’s operations this year, said Superintendent Wendy Hyer. In a lesson learned after the global economic crash in 2008 that curbed international tuitions, the school district holds onto excess revenue.

Related: Little struggle hiring teachers for South Okanagan

“All of a sudden, kids weren’t studying abroad, and so everybody felt that impact with fewer students, and districts who were counting on that money were in a difficult situation,” Hyer said. “So we never spend the money before we have it in the bank.”

Last school year, SD67 reported a total of 90.3 full-time equivalent international students enrolled in the program, which includes students who stayed anywhere from a few months to a full semester to a full year.

Combined, Hyer estimates about 120 students were enrolled in the program in Penticton, which she said came from a number of places, including Australia, Austria, Vietnam and Venezuela, among others.

But the four countries students most commonly came from were China, Germany, Mexico and Japan, according to Hyer.

Related:South Okanagan students can still access social media

Hyer said in most cases families haven’t tossed a dart at a map and wound up in Penticton; the school district uses agents, including two with exclusive contracts in Germany, to solicit international students around the world.

Last year’s numbers are a considerable increase from just a few years ago, when Hyer said only about 25 students were enrolled.

But while there’s more room to grow in the schools, Hyer said there’s a challenge in finding homestay families, when the international program is competing with about 100 students at the Okanagan Hockey Academy for homestay spots.

“When you combine those two programs, we’ve probably got over 200 kids from out of district, here, and that’s pretty good,” Hyer said. “Some of those kids with Okanagan Hockey Academy are from other parts of B.C., and some of them are international and will pay a tuition fee.”

Vernon’s school district has a couple hundred international students, while Kelowna’s district has potentially over 400, according to Hyer. Meanwhile, coast districts like the Vancouver School Board will have up into the thousands.

“So it’s a big business for British Columbia.”

Related: Turning students into learners


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

‘Listen to your gut’ urges injured skier

Mike Shaw was told he’d never walk again after an accident four years ago, but he defied the odds

Riverdale actor from the South Okanagan returns to his theatre roots

Cody Kearsley, Moose on Riverdale, on his latest theatre production

Okanagan Taste: Annual open houses start the holiday season

Allison Markin is a food and libations column focusing on the Okanagan

Interior Health expands meningococcal precautions in South Okanagan

Oliver, Osoyoos and Okanagan Falls included in the expanded precautionary immunization measure

City hopes to clear smoke with one last dispensary

Two of three have signed consent orders to convert to wellness centres, rather than dispensaries

What’s happening

Find out what’s happening in your community this weekend

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Guns and drugs seized in Kamloops RCMP blitz

Kamloops Mounties and the gang unit seize drugs and make arrests in two-day blitz

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Missing woman smart, courageous, lovable

Mother says Caitlin Potts trying to overcome foster care experience

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Riverview youth mental health centre proceeds

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Most Read