• The Sikh Lounge

Canadian University Refuses to Refund its Students

Colleges of higher education (universities) hold immense power over their students, an immeasurable amount of power. Imagine being a young college student barely able to cover extremely high tuition costs, let alone cover housing, books, food, and extracurricular activities. The tuition rates of many universities can place a strain upon students' finances, or the families of students who help cover their tuition rates. However, attending and obtaining a degree from a university can open many employment doors for young individuals or increase the salary they would be paid at many employment positions, thus mitigating the high cost of attending a university. And while this is the case for most students who attend universities, Jagpreet Singh and 30 of his peers have an entirely different story. A story in which over thirty students are refused over $14,000 CAD worth of tuition refund they rightfully deserve.

Jagpreet Singh and many other students, some of whom are listed below, applied to and were accepted at the Institut Superieur d'Informatique (ISI) in Montreal, Canada. They received letters of acceptances and officially enrolled for their first year of university classes. However, due to their non-resident status, these students who are Indian residents, had to go through additional steps in order to secure their spots at Institut Superieur d'Informatique university. These students had to apply for temporary residence in Canada to attend ISI university, through the government agency Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Jagpreet and his cohort sent their applications to IRCC a year before they were set to attend ISI university. And during this gap year period, while they awaited to hear back from the IRCC to see if their temporary residence claim had been accepted or rejected by the government, ISI university requested that each of the students pay their entire first year tuition upfront to ISI university. Keep in mind, these students had yet to start their first year of university, however ISI university still mandated that the students pay $14752 CAD in order to reserve their seats at the university. Sadly, these students were denied residence in Canada a year after submitting their application to the IRCC.

At this time in the story, the students asked for a refund of their first year tuition from ISI university. With a rejection from the IRCC and no temporary residence granted to these students, their only option was to stay in India and ask for a refund of their tuition. Keep in mind, the students had not yet taken a single class at ISI university, because they had paid for their first year classes upfront, as the university demanded, before receiving an answer from the IRCC and knowing their residence status. It makes complete sense that ISI university should refund these students their full tuition; however, when the students reached out to ISI university they were met with resounding injustice. ISI university claimed that they in fact did not have the tuition money that the students had paid them a year ago, and that the money was actually sent to Rising Phoenix International. (Rising Phoenix International is a Canadian institution which claims to help international students study in Canada. However since 2020 it has been under investigation for fraud by the Ministry of Immigration, Frenchisation and Integration.)

The students, unaware that their money had been sent by ISI university to an unknown subsidiary area, were befuddled by this information. Having never been told that their tuition money would be sent to another institution, they were perplexed as to why ISI university was claiming that they no longer had these students' tuition money. As per their letter of acceptance, each student had paid ISI university, not Rising Phoenix International, the money for their first year of classes. And therefore, the students requested a refund for their rightful money from ISI university. The ISI university administration was not at all helpful, and kept insisting that they did not have the tuition money that the students paid them (there are receipts for this transaction as evidence of student payment to ISI) and that the students themselves must reach out to Rising Phoenix international, because ISI university had severed ties with Rising Phoenix International once they were put under investigation by the Ministry of Immigration, Frenchisation and Integration in 2020. Once it was clear that the administration of ISI university would only continue to stonewall these students and refuse to refund them their tuition money back, the students in desperation reached out to Rising Phoenix International.

Rising Phoenix International has yet to reply to any of the countless emails and phone-calls of the students trying to reach out to them to get refunded their rightful money. The past five months of communication attempts have yielded absolutely nothing for these students. These students even tried to reach out to the ISI university representatives stationed in India, and have been ignored all the same. It is absolutely unacceptable these these students have been ignored and denied their rightful refund. These students have endured over five months of ignored emails, unanswered calls, and round-around answers, and have yet to see a single dollar back of their refunds. The futility of reaching out to these institutions and led the students to reach out to the UNITED SIKHS organization for legal aid. UNITED SIKHS is a not for profit NGO, which provides disaster relief globally, advocates for human rights to government institutions, and provides legal aid to countless international committees who cannot afford legal aid themselves. Below is a link to their website to learn more.

It is imperative that these students are refunded their money. Not only is it a large sum of money that they are owed, there is also principal at stake. Institutions such as ISI university and Rising Phoenix International cannot be allowed deny refunds to students. These students must be brought to justice, they must be paid their refund in full immediately. UNITED SIKHS and their legal team are currently working with and representing these students in order to legally obtain their refunds from ISI university and Rising Phoenix International. Once there is an update on this legal battle, we will inform our readers of The Sikh Lounge immediately.

UNITED SIKHS Website: https://unitedsikhs.org/

Just some of the students from this cohort:

1. Tushar Vedi

2. Jagpreet Singh

3. Amandeep Singh

4. Bopparam Ankitha Reddy

5. Jaydip Kikani

6. Simarjot Singh

7. Harsimran Kaur

8. C Chaitra Reddy

9. Mandeep Kaur

10. Samanpreet Singh

11. Gurusewak Singh

12. Kiran Garg

13. Nishi Sharma

14. Pawan Madia

15. Gurpreet Kaur

16. Naresh Reddy.

17. Obularaju Dommaraju

18. Isha Divyangkumar Parekh.