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Global health degrees: at what cost?
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  • Published on:
    Equity and Access to Global Health Education: Focusing on the Fundamental Problem
    • A.M. Viens, Associate Professor of Global Health Policy & Director, School of Global Health York University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Oghenowede Eyawo, Assistant Professor of Global Health Epidemiology, School of Global Health

    Svadzian et al. [1] noted that most universities in high-income countries (HICs) demand higher tuition fees from low- and middle-income country (LMIC) students for masters-level global health degrees – a problem potentially further exacerbated by COVID-19, with many HIC universities increasing international tuition fees to make up a resultant funding deficit. [2] While the paper only focuses on masters-level global health degrees, it should be noted that some HIC universities, such as York University in Toronto, have long-standing undergraduate-level global health degree programs. Taking significantly longer to complete than masters degrees, these problems are felt to a greater extent for LMIC students who want to study global health as their first degree.

    The fundamental premise in their paper is that if HIC universities were serious about equity then they would be offering lower tuition fees (and scholarships to support living/travel costs) to students from LMICs. This presumes that merely lowering tuition or offering more scholarships would eliminate the primary access barrier for LMIC students, especially those from less privileged backgrounds. Unfortunately, this is sadly not the case. Even students with tuition waivers/scholarships can have difficulty obtaining visas to study at HIC universities.

    Student visas are a regressive tax on LMIC [3] – the requirements to obtain numerous documents that require certification, additional fee payments to an HIC-af...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.