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Student enrolment on the rise

Shona Perry-Maidment, left, and Dr. Noreen Golfman are pleased with the increase in enrolment.

By Jill Hunt & Mandy Cook

As of Sept. 22, 2010, total enrolment, including all campuses at Memorial University, is 17,994 students, a 2.2 per cent increase from last year.

Undergraduate enrolment increased at the St. John’s campus by 0.6 per cent to 13,064 students and a 2.2 per cent increase at the Grenfell campus to 1,022 students.

Graduate student enrolment has increased by 10.3 per cent to a total of 2,954 students. Of that number, 1,677 were registered on a full-time basis and 1,277 were registered on a part-time basis.

Dr. Noreen Golfman, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, says graduate enrolment continues to climb year after year due to a strategic and multi-pronged approach to attracting and recruiting students.

“We can attribute the sharp rise in graduate student enrolment to a number of factors: the excellent graduate programming Memorial has to offer, the superior research carried out by faculty at this institution, the competitive funding and tuition made possible by the support of the provincial government and our more aggressive approach to recruiting the best and the brightest graduate students.”

Individuals accepted into Memorial’s graduate programs come from all around the world. The international contingent has experienced a boost of about 24 per cent in the last two years alone. During the same time period, enrolment by Canadian students outside of Newfoundland and Labrador has jumped by 17 per cent.

“To maintain a slight increase in enrolment at the undergraduate level where high school demographics are steadily declining is a success,” says Shona Perry-Maidment, director of Student Recruitment. “Because we recruit students provincially, nationally and internationally through various methods, including high schools visits, educational fairs, unique marketing campaigns, and an interactive online presence, it is important to be strategic in our recruitment strategies and activities.”

Memorial’s Office of Student Recruitment continues to attract high numbers of graduating high school students from Newfoundland and Labrador even though there is a decline in the high school population within the province. Additionally, there is a decrease in the number of eligible high school students who could enter Memorial. Despite the decrease in numbers, Memorial is getting a higher percentage of those who are eligible. There was an increase of 62.1 per cent in Fall 2008 to 66.8 per cent in Fall 2009.

“Because the pool of eligible high school students from Newfoundland and Labrador is declining, our outreach has expanded our recruitment efforts into other provinces across the country and to international locations as well,” said Ms. Perry-Maidment. “There’s been a demographic shift in the undergraduate student population. In 2003, almost 91 per cent of our student population was Newfoundland and Labradorians. In 2009, the undergraduate student population was 79 per cent. Through collaborative efforts with academic and administrative units, we’ve been able to counteract the decline and maintain our undergraduate numbers.”