No big en­rol­ment sur­prises at CBU


En­rol­ment trends at Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity are largely on par with those seen in Nova Sco­tia as a whole, as demon­strated in a new re­port re­leased this week, its di­rec­tor of en­rol­ment says, with only in­ter­na­tional en­rol­ment on the rise.

An an­nual di­gest of en­rol­ment trends for 2015-16 was re­leased this week by the Mar­itime Prov­inces Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sion. It noted that, over­all, 66,850 stu­dents were en­rolled in Mar­itime uni­ver­si­ties, down 2.3 per cent from the pre­vi­ous year, with en­rol­ment de­clines ob­served in all three prov­inces.

In Nova Sco­tia, to­tal en­rol­ment de­creased 1.7 per cent, down to 43,268 stu­dents. The largest de­crease of 5.6 per cent was seen among stu­dents com­ing to study in Nova Sco­tia from another Mar­itime prov­ince. En­rol­ment of Nova Sco­tia res­i­dents de­creased by 3 per cent, and en­rol­ment of Cana­dian stu­dents from out­side the re­gion de­creased by 1.1 per cent. In­ter­na­tional en­rol­ment in­creased by 2.6 per cent

“There weren’t any big sur­prises there,” CBU’s di­rec­tor of en­rol­ment Eleanor Anderson said in an in­ter­view Fri­day. “We’re down do­mes­ti­cally by sim­i­lar per­cent­ages and we are up in­ter­na­tion­ally.”

CBU has felt the im­pact of the de­ci­sion by the Saudi Ara­bian gov­ern­ment to no longer fund its stu­dents at­tend­ing post-se­condary in­sti­tu­tions in this re­gion, as that co­hort grad­u­ates.

“That’s not be­ing re­newed due to the schol­ar­ship is­sue, so we have made a twopronged ef­fort in in­ter­na­tional re­cruit­ment — one is to di­ver­sify so that we can spread our in­ter­na­tional ap­pli­ca­tions and co­hort around to more coun­tries and that will help us strengthen our base and then also we’ve had a sig­nif­i­cant ef­fort in In­dia over the last lit­tle while,” Anderson said.

While two years ago, CBU had no stu­dents from In­dia, it cur­rently has 78 on cam­pus.

“We’re re­ally putting a strong ef­fort in some of th­ese emerg­ing mar­kets,” Anderson said.

Among the CBU pro­grams that have at­tracted those new stu­dents are the three-year bach­e­lor of en­gi­neer­ing tech­nol­ogy, busi­ness, arts, pub­lic health, as well as hospi­tal­ity and tourism.

“That’s re­ally pop­u­lar in­ter­na­tion­ally be­cause it has a work com­po­nent, so when they grad­u­ate they have a re­sume that has both ed­u­ca­tion and work ex­pe­ri­ence,” Anderson said. “Tourism is one in­dus­try that’s al­most re­ces­sion-proof, it’s grow­ing a lit­tle bit ev­ery year glob­ally and there’s lots of mo­bil­ity with that so if they get an ed­u­ca­tion here they can work just about any­where.”

De­mo­graphic changes and par­tic­i­pa­tion rate shifts have af­fected re­cent trends in lo­cal en­rol­ment at Mar­itime uni­ver­si­ties. Over the pre­vi­ous year, the pop­u­la­tion of 18-24 year olds in the re­gion shrank 2.2 per cent while the univer­sity par­tic­i­pa­tion rate of Mar­itime res­i­dents de­creased 0.1 per­cent­age points over the pre­vi­ous year to 21.8 per cent.

Anderson said it’s im­por­tant to CBU try to hold on to and work to in­crease its do­mes­tic mar­ket share an in en­vi­ron­ment that is in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive.

“All of our com­peti­tors are fac­ing that as well — less stu­dents, in­creased com­pe­ti­tion, in­creased choice for stu­dents,” she said. “We’d like to be the num­ber one choice for our Cape Bre­ton stu­dents, we have ev­ery­thing to of­fer them and it’s prime schol­ar­ship time.”



Some­one makes her way across the Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity cam­pus in this file photo. CBU saw sim­i­lar en­rol­ment trends as other Nova Sco­tia uni­ver­si­ties in 2015-16, with only in­ter­na­tional en­rol­ment on the rise.

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