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New report highlights Canadian study permit approval rate disparities, shows vastly lower approval rates for African students

Report from MPOWER Financing concludes with a call to action for Canadian academic institutions and policymakers to enhance the international student recruitment experience and reform the study permit process.

TORONTO, June 19, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- MPOWER Financing ("MPOWER"), a mission-driven fintech firm and the leader in international student financing, today released a comprehensive report on Canadian study permit approval rates for students from around the world across different levels of education. This report, which analyzes data from Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and other sources, found that African students – especially those from Francophone nations – encounter formidable barriers in securing Canadian study permits.

The report shows consistently lower study permit acceptance rates for African students relative to their global peers and advocates for a recalibration of Canada's study permit adjudication processes to foster greater equity and inclusivity.

The report's key findings include:

  • African students face consistently lower study permit approval rates when compared with their global peers (27% for African students versus 74% for students from other nations on average over the six-year period from 2018-2023). Francophone African students, in particular, are disproportionately affected with approval rates lagging behind those from non-Francophone regions (22% versus 29%).
  • The 2020 pandemic resulted in sharply reduced approval rates for all students, both African and non-African. A post-2020 recovery reveals the pace of improvement remains uneven across different African regions.
  • Lower approval rates for African students represent a significant missed opportunity for students and Canadian academic institutions. From 2018-2023, over 46,000 African postgraduate students were sidelined due to study permit approval processes that are seemingly stacked against them.

The report concludes with a call to action for Canadian academic institutions, Global Affairs Canada and IRCC to enhance the international student recruitment experience and the study permit adjudication process to remedy inequities and enhance the credibility of the program.

"At MPOWER, we believe in breaking down barriers to education," said Sasha Ramani, head of Canada and head of Corporate Strategy at MPOWER Financing. "The disparities identified not only deprive bright minds of opportunities, but also deprives Canada of tens of thousands of talented minds and billions of dollars worth of economic contributions. We look forward to continuing working with Canadian policymakers to advise them on enhancements to the study permit program and with Canadian postsecondary institutions seeking to grow and diversify their international student populations."

The report can be downloaded from MPOWER's website.

About MPOWER Financing
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., and with employees worldwide, MPOWER Financing is a mission-driven fintech company and the leading provider of global education loans. Its proprietary algorithm analyzes overseas and domestic credit data as well as future earning potential to serve promising international students. MPOWER works with over 400 top universities across the U.S. and Canada to provide financing to students from over 200 countries. The MPOWER team primarily consists of former international students and provides students with personal financial education and career support to prepare them for their professional careers after graduation.

MPOWER is a Certified B-Corp and has been named a Great Place To Work, one of the best fintechs to work for and the best tech workplace for diversity. The company is hiring for various positions worldwide.


For further information: Sasha Ramani,

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