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International student populations are skyrocketing in Ontario and here's where

Students of Ontario schools who haven't been getting the full university experience while learning remotely over the course of the health crisis are now hopeful that they may be able to return to in-person lectures and activities within a few months.

This will inevitably mean a shift in various housing markets as coeds return to campus from home and abroad.

Based on international student population stats from the years leading up to the pandemic, these shifts could be huge in parts of the province that have seen the number of young people moving for the sake of higher education absolutely explode recently.

Some new analyses by Ivey Business School assistant professor Dr. Mike Moffatt show that Toronto has housed the highest number of university and college kids, with more than 136,000 study permit holders by January 2018.

As the province's most populous city with a range of post-secondary institutions including U of T, George Brown and Centennial Colleges, OCADU and Ryerson University, this isn't surprising.

But, other regions are quickly catching up, and have seen huge jumps in the growth of these demographics.

Kingston, for example — home of Queen's University and St. Lawrence College — had nearly ten times more study permit holders in January 2018 vs. January 2015: 5,070 compared to 645, according to Moffatt's numbers. (International student numbers in Toronto only spiked 1.5 times more during the same period).

In the same time frame, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo's international student population grew more than four times from 3,670 to 15,420, while North Bay saw nearly six times as many of such student permit holders, from 210 in Jan. 2015 to 1,230 in Jan. 2018.

Windsor and St. Catharines/Niagara, meanwhile, both saw 2.5 times more international students in Jan. 2018 vs. Jan. 2015, while Peterborough and Barrie saw 3.5 times more, Thunder Bay saw 3.6 times more, and Sudbury, 3.7 times more.

As Moffatt notes, most of the province's non-permanent residents in general are those who are here to study, and the number enrolled full-time at colleges has drastically hiked to surpass those enrolled full-time at universities.

The top schools for growth have been U of T and Centennial College in Toronto, followed by Contestoga College in Kitchener and Fanshawe College in London, and then two more T.O. institutions, York University and Seneca College.

And it is these schools and the aforementioned regions that can likely continue to see the highest growth in attendees from abroad as in-person learning resumes, border restrictions loosen and international travel ramps up again — and hopefully they will have the housing to accommodate the influx.

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