Message from the President - Enrolment Update

Dear Colleagues:

As a follow-up to my September 29th message, I’d like to provide an update on UPEI’s enrolment and course registration for fall 2015. UPEI’s enrolment results for 2015-16 tell an interesting story. Over the past year, UPEI succeeded in increasing application numbers and conversion rates, and significantly improved first year retention. UPEI also achieved growth in international student enrolment by 9%, domestic enrolment (students from outside PEI) by 3%, and graduate student numbers by 15%.  

The Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU) released data today from its 2015-2016 Survey of Enrolments. In relation to the other 15 universities in Atlantic Canada, UPEI placed sixth in respect to maintaining enrolment, with a 2 percent decline in the overall student body. This places UPEI slightly above the Maritime average and just slightly below the Atlantic average for enrolment change as compared to 2014.

Although some levelling-off in student enrolment has been anticipated, shrinking demographics within our Island K-12 schools are a growing cause of concern for UPEI and our entire province. Between September 2013 and September 2014 alone, the total Grade 12 enrolment within PEI high schools fell by approximately 4%. From a regional perspective it is forecast there will be 34,900 fewer people in the typical university age range (18-24 years) in PEI, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick between 2012 and 2025. PEI will see a decline of approximately 20% for this age group in the time frame.

While we cannot control the demographics in our region, with the number of high school students on the Island declining, we can control our accessibility to university studies through new academic programming, enhanced scholarships and awards, more support for students as they transition into university life, guaranteed residence accommodation for first year students, and earlier registration options for students. The quality of the student experience at UPEI is second-to-none and I know that together we continue to strive for excellence.

2015/2016 UPEI enrolment, by the numbers:

Total: 4,317 (down 2.0%)
Undergraduate: 3,869 (down 3.6%)
Graduate: 448 (up 15.2%)
International: 748 (up 9.2%)

A full breakdown of enrolment numbers for universities across the Atlantic Provinces can be found at the AAU’s website.

Thank you


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