WSO Shocked by Plight of Alpha College International Students

Toronto (May 23, 2022):  The World Sikh Organization of Canada is deeply concerned by the plight of international students at Alpha College in Scarborough, Ontario.  Hundreds of international students, including a large number of Sikh students from Punjab, have had their enrolments suspended by the College, despite having paid upwards of $15,000 in tuition.  The College claims that it has insufficient resources to enroll the students this semester.  

The unreasonable actions of the College have had a severe impact on the lives of these students, both in India and Canada, including financial hardship and mental and emotional stress.   Many of the affected students have been protesting daily outside Alpha College offices in Scarborough since May 18th, trying to draw attention to their predicament and demanding justice from the College.

Hundreds of international students enrolled at Alpha College were told by the College that they would have to take a drop semester, despite many having been attending online classes for the past two weeks and having already paid their enrollment fees.  Some students were told that they could enroll again in September and others, in the January 2023 semester.  Affected students have not been provided refunds as the College continues to hold hundreds of thousands of dollars of the students’ tuition fees without providing any education or support. 

Alpha College has told students that all currently registered students in Canada who have paid tuition will be issued enrollment letters; however, students have expressed a lack of trust in the College administration which has previously enrolled students, only to subsequently tell them that there is insufficient space. 

It is unclear what, if any solution, Alpha College is offering to students currently in India who have already paid their tuition fees. 

World Sikh Organization of Canada President Tejinder Singh Sidhu said today,

“The situation facing international students at Alpha College is shocking.  The College’s poor planning and focus only on profit has resulted in hundreds of international students being charged very high tuition fees only to be told that there is no space for them at the College. 

The College needs to recognize the severe impact its actions are having on these students.  These students have left their homes to come to Canada to study and are paying tuition fees that are much higher than domestic students.  Many of their families have sold their land in order to send their children here to pursue their education.  Forcing students to take one or more drop semesters because the College didn’t plan properly on how to accommodate them is hurtful and unreasonable. 

We call on Alpha College to ensure that all students who have paid tuition, whether here or abroad, are enrolled and receive the education they paid for.  The College needs to demonstrate that it is committed to educating its students and not simply driven by the tuition fees they bring. 

All levels of government also need to act now to protect international students.  International students are a vulnerable group in Canada that face exploitation on many different levels and lack the supports they need and deserve.  There is no clear oversight and accountability over colleges and career colleges, many of whom are making record profits on the backs of international students.  Public-private partnerships must also be reviewed in light of significant ongoing and escalating concerns, as demonstrated by this current situation.”

The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights of all individuals. 

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