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International student enrolment rises by 11 percent at Canada’s universities

Full-time undergraduate enrolment up a more modest two percent this fall compared to 2016.

BY ANQI SHEN | NOV 24 2017

Fall enrolment data are in for 2017, showing a two-percent rise in full-time undergraduate students in Canada, with variations by region, and a 10.7 percent surge nationwide in international students compared to the previous year. The data were collected through preliminary surveys by the Association of Atlantic Universities, the Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire, the Council of Ontario Universities and Universities Canada.

International student enrolment increased in all provinces except New Brunswick, which reported a 5.7 percent decrease. Increases ranged from two percent in Saskatchewan to nearly 13 percent in P.E.I. and Ontario; British Columbia had biggest gain – 15.6 percent – in international students compared to the previous year.

The boom in new international students in Canada signifies that “students around the globe are increasingly choosing the internationally recognized quality of a Canadian university education,” said Universities Canada president Paul Davidson, adding, “the benefits for Canada are tremendous.” (In both 2015 and 2016, international student enrolment increased year-over-year by seven percent.)

Full-time undergraduate enrolment, meanwhile, decreased slightly in the Atlantic provinces – ranging from a decline of 0.3 to 1.5 percent – except for P.E.I., which had a 4.5 percent increase. By comparison, full-time undergraduate enrolment stayed relatively constant in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, while it increased in Saskatchewan (3.3 percent), Alberta (4.4 percent) and British Columbia (3.7 percent).

The number of part-time undergraduates dropped just 0.2 percent nationally, though New Brunswick saw a larger decrease of nine percent, while Alberta saw an increase of 4.6 percent.

At the graduate level, full- and part-time enrolments are up by 3.8 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. In all provinces other than P.E.I., the number of full-time graduate students increased. Part-time graduate enrolment varied more from province to province, but the numbers are relatively small.

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