Published Thursday, Mar. 17, 2011 8:24PM EDT
Last updated Friday, Mar. 18, 2011 3:49AM EDT
In an urgent bid to plug a hole in its budget, Dalhousie University’s medical school will sell 10 vacant first-year seats to students from Saudi Arabia for $75,000 annually.
Dalhousie’s medical dean, Tom Marrie, says a reduction in provincial grants last year left the program underfunded, and that generating money from empty spaces is crucial to balancing the books.
The scheme is a targeted, stopgap solution, and may not be repeated. But most Canadian universities, including Dalhousie, are trumpeting Canadian education and looking to increase their foreign student enrolment as global competition for top talent – including those with deep pockets – heats up.
Dr. Marrie saw an opportunity recently when Dalhousie established a satellite medical school in New Brunswick, allowing students from that province to study remotely instead of in Nova Scotia, thus freeing up seats on the main campus.
The 63 places the provincial government funds for Nova Scotia students are full, so Dr. Marrie looked abroad. He decided recruiting in the United States would take too long, but Dalhousie has a history of training Saudi resident doctors, making it a natural partner.