The president and vice-chancellor of Memorial University, Dr. Gary Kachanoski, said that he is very pleased with the stability provided for the institution in the 2013-14 provincial budget.
The budget, presented in the House of Assembly today, includes a continuation of the tuition fee freeze for students, along with funding to help the university offset the freeze. There are also provisions that will enable the university to continue its growth in areas of strategic importance to the province, including science, oceans technology, engineering, medicine and the Marine Institute.
Dr. Kachanoski said the government is taking a long-term view as it relates to university education in Newfoundland and Labrador and the budget provides Memorial with the resources it needs to continue to deliver academic offerings and maintain its educational commitments and services to students.
Government is continuing to invest in the provinces future, especially in university-bound young people, said Dr. Kachanoski.
Dr. Kachanoski explained that despite the demographic challenges facing the province, Memorial Universitys enrolment has grown and now sits at over 19,000 students.
In the past year alone, graduate student enrolment increased by 8.6 per cent to almost 3,400. Undergraduate enrolment is remaining steady despite the drop in the provinces high school population because the number of national and international students attending Memorial is continuing to rise. In the period 2007-2012, the number of Canadian students from other provinces enrolled at Memorial increased more than 23 per cent [2,602 to 3,211] and the number of international students increased by an astounding 73.2 per cent [978 to 1,694].
So weve been attracting and educating more local, national and international students, said Dr. Kachanoski, and this budget will allow Memorial to continue to play that vital role and carry out our mission in support of the future growth and development of the province.
Overall, the president remained hopeful that with an improved economy in the coming years, the provincial government will continue to invest in priority areas like the university that will pay dividends for decades to come.
The government recognizes that Memorial University is of significant importance to the development of the entire province, Dr. Kachanoski said. An investment in the university is an investment that benefits our economy and our society. We now have frameworks to guide our teaching, research and public engagement activities that we developed in consultation with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Our plans anticipate growth throughout the university and we look forward to working with the government to achieve those goals.