Every day, I hear stories that reflect the sacrifice and dedication of our MD students, and our faculty, at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine.
The pandemic has brought hardship and duress not only to our patients, but to our students and faculty, as well. My work as Vice Dean of Medical Education is to support all of you – and improve our program – as best I can.
We know that a GoFundMe campaign is not a long-term financial solution, yet it has yielded extraordinary results that reflect the kindness and generosity of our community for an international student in need. Please know that I have contacted the student to explore alternate payment plans.
In 2019-2020, the faculty provided approximately $5.4 million in grants and bursaries to support students from within Canada. Some of these funds went to support international students with urgent needs.
In 2020-2021, the faculty provided approximately $6 million in grants and bursaries to support students from within Canada, including additional funds to support international students.
But the University has different policies for international and domestic students.
While the University can provide grants to international students to help with their educational and living costs in exceptional circumstances, the policy on student financial support says that: “International students must demonstrate that they have sufficient resources to meet their financial needs in order to qualify for a student visa.”
“They are not eligible for the University’s guarantee offered to domestic students,” says the policy, which alsostates that the guarantee is that the “financial support programs of the University of Toronto will be designed to guarantee that each student has access to the resources necessary to meet his or her needs as assessed by a common mechanism.”
For the last four years we have welcomed small numbers of international students to our program. They have made up less than four per cent (maximum) of students, over and above the provincially mandated seats for domestic students in the MD Program each year.
We are grateful to our entire community for their efforts to reduce barriers for students who are eager to achieve their MD, and for their commitment to furthering equity and diversity in medicine.
We recognize that these are very difficult times that have brought on many unexpected challenges and hardships. We will work with each student, as much as we possibly can, to ensure they can continue with their studies.
We know we have a long way to go, and are committed to getting there, together.
Dr. Patricia Houston