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Memorial enrolment figures climbing

The Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU) released its 2009-10 Preliminary Survey of Enrolments and Memorial University is showing solid enrolment growth. Memorial is also ahead of some of its peer institutions in some enrolment categories.

Memorial University has seen a strong increase in its enrolment this year, following a period of modest decline. Total enrolment grew by 649 students (3.7 per cent) to 18,172. Undergraduate enrolment was up 2.4 per cent, while graduate enrolment grew by 11.2 per cent. The total number of first year students grew by 65 (2.6 per cent) to 2,544. Transfer students increased by 20 per cent to 905 students. The total number of international undergraduate students increased by 26.9 per cent to 622 individuals. The number of international graduate students also grew in comparison to fall 2008. The number increased by 13.5 per cent to 464 students.

“Memorial’s enrolment numbers are very encouraging,” said Dr. Christopher Loomis, Memorial’s president and vice-chancellor pro tempore. “People across the university are working hard to increase our enrolments and their efforts are paying off, especially in graduate studies. Achieving a critical size, including greater diversity, makes Memorial a better place to study and do research. The AAU report shows that our enrolment goals – as outlined in Memorial’s Strategic Plan — are challenging but realistic. When we compare ourselves to other institutions in the region, the AAU report shows we are competitive and successful.”

Memorial’s overall increase in enrolment — 2.7 per cent — was higher than the total growth for the Atlantic and Maritime regions. In addition, Memorial’s growth rate was higher than six other universities in the region and was higher than the overall average growth rate experienced by Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Memorial University was ahead of most of its peer institutions when it came to graduate student enrolment growth.

“It takes a team to make this kind of growth happen, and includes other divisions at the university,” said Dr. Noreen Golfman, Memorial’s dean of Graduate Studies. “The work of the Division of Marketing and Communications, the Department of Computing and Communications, Distance Education and Learning Technologies and the Office of Student Recruitment all helped us attain the tremendous enrolment growth we experienced this past year. As I look to the future, I see that there is an increasing interest in online learners in graduate programs, and that that trend challenges us to think of delivering our programs differently to increase capacity—without sacrificing quality.”
The AAU figures show that enrolments have increased in all key categories at Atlantic Canada’s universities.

The report indicates the region’s universities experienced a 1.5 per cent (year-over-year) increase in undergraduate enrolment, bringing an end to a four-year decline in this critical category. In addition, universities experienced continuing year-over-year increases in graduate students (+5.4 per cent), a remarkable increase in international students (+16.5 per cent) and an incremental increase in first-year students (+0.4 per cent).

Dr. Colin Dodds, president, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, N.S., and chair, AAU, said the enrolment increases reflect three critical factors.

“Our universities are working harder than ever in marketing themselves regionally, nationally and internationally. These positive enrolment results indicate the reputation of our universities for high quality programs and unique student experience is growing across Canada and worldwide.”

He also noted that, “students and their families recognize that the high-paying jobs of the rapidly emerging knowledge economy require, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree and many more of those jobs will, more than ever before, require a post-graduate degree.”
Because of challenging regional demographic trends, Dr. Dodds also said that, “our universities must continue to work hard at being nationally and internationally competitive, by doing so we ensure a prosperous economic future for Atlantic Canada and its communities.”

The full report is available at the AAU web site located at

The Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU) represents the interests of universities across the region, ensuring public visibility for the important role they play in preparing future leaders of our communities, in path-breaking research and innovation, and in contributing to the economic prosperity of life in Atlantic Canada.