Beginning fall of 2018, the University of Toronto’s international Ph.D. students will pay domestic fees. The move comes in an effort to make doctoral education at the university more accessible to non-domestic students.

“The existing students are also going to be impacted by this change,” stated Joshua Barker, dean of the School of Graduate Studies in an interview with The Medium. “I mean in many cases, Ph.D. students going from year two to three are still within the funding package which doesn’t cover the cost of tuition fees. But when they exit the funding cohort, maybe at the end of their fifth year or sixth year, they will now not have to pay back higher fees out of pocket.”

International students, both at the undergraduate and graduate level, pay significantly higher fees and tuition than Canadian students for the same programs. According to U of T’s website, international undergraduate students in the arts and science paid upwards of $45,000 in 2017, while domestic undergraduate students paid just under $10,000.

“One of the reasons we needed to get this metric out is that we would like students who are considering U of T to enter into the program in 2017-18. To know this change is happening because it may change their thinking about which institution they would like to attend,” Barker continued.

According to Barker, no changes to the program’s application process is expected to take place.

“For a long time, we’ve had great interest in growing accessibility for international students in our programs,” continued Barker, “Our Ph.D. research stream students already receive funding packages. But it is quite difficult for students who are pursuing a Ph.D., which requires a lot of investment of time and money. When they come out of their funding packages, they get a higher tuition bill than domestic students. So we’re interested in levelling the playing field at that stage in their program.”

U of T is interested in increasing the number of graduate students coming to the university in order to stimulate more research opportunities for the school.

While this change to international Ph.D. fees is expected to be permanent, the university has not disclosed any current plans to change fees for international undergraduate students.