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US student applications to Canadian colleges increase 20-70 percent after Trump election

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For some college-bound students distressed by the election of Donald Trump, Canada is calling.

Colleges from Quebec to British Columbia say applications and website traffic from the United States have been surging since Trump's victory Nov. 8. Although many Canadian schools had also ramped up recruiting in the U.S. recently, some say dismay over the presidential election has fueled a spike in interest beyond their expectations.

Some students are already making the move. 

Lara Godoff, a 17-year-old from Napa, California, said she scrapped any notion of staying in the U.S. the day after the election. Among other concerns, Godoff, a Democrat, said she fears Trump's administration will ease enforcement of federal rules against sexual assault, making campuses less safe for women.

Godoff had applied to one college in Canada but added three more as safety schools after the election.

"If we live in a country where so many people could elect Donald Trump, then that's not a country I want to live in," she said.

Applications to the University of Toronto from American students have jumped 70 percent compared with this time last year, while several other Canadian schools have seen increases of 20 percent or more. U.S. applications to McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, are up 34 percent.

"We can't ignore the election results, but I think there are other strengths that are attracting students to the university, as well," said Jennifer Peterman,  senior manager of global undergraduate recruitment at McGill University in Montreal. Students are also drawn by the school's diversity and Canada's affordable cost of living, she said.

In the U.S., officials at some colleges say it's clear Trump's election is tilting enrollment patterns. Some recruiters say foreign students are avoiding the U.S. amid worries about safety and deportation, opting for Canada or Australia instead. And Canadian schools have noticed growing interest from China, India and Pakistan.

"I think everybody in international education is a little uneasy, in part because some of the rhetoric in the campaign frightened people overseas," said Stephen Dunnett, vice provost for international education at the University at Buffalo. "It's going to be perhaps a little bit rocky for a couple of years."

Although it's too early to say how many U.S. students will enroll in Canada next fall, some colleges expect to see more Americans on campus based on the flurry of interest.

Some doubters are set to be silenced. 

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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