Zhang Wen Li is a Chinese international student completing his PhD at Dalhousie. He comes from a median-income Chinese family (equivalent to half of Canada’s low-income cut-off). He is living in residence and is academically outstanding.

Our model outlines Zhang’s financial circumstances for just the first year of his program. We assume that if the Province implemented StudentsNS’ recommended international student scholarships, they would allow eligible recipients to access Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarships in the same amount as domestic students. We also assume that Zhang is not working or collecting any additional financial support.

Total Costs$21,403$30,304$29,071
Ancillary Fees$945$1,484$707
Housing and Food$8,440$11,030$11,030
Financial Assistance$0$8,202$23,202
Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship$0$8,202$15,000
Nova Scotia International Student Scholarship$0$0$8,202

Take Aways:

  • Zhang’s costs have increased markedly since 2004 and are very elevated for someone in Zhang’s circumstances; i.e. with family resources equal to half of our low-income cut-off.
  • Increased resources have been made available to strong graduate students, through the Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship Program, but support based on financial need remains limited.

Key Recommendations:

Model Weaknesses:

  • The model notably does not account for Zhang’s travel costs.
  • In many cases the single largest year-to-year determinant of post-secondary costs for international students is currency exchange rates. These are not accounted for in the model.