Fewer domestic students at Canadore this fall

International enrolment jumps at GTA partner campuses

Canadore College has seen an overall increase in student enrolment this fall despite a drop in domestic intake. File Photo

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Canadore College has seen an overall increase in student enrolment this fall despite a drop in domestic intake.

During the college’s board of governor’s meeting Tuesday evening, vice-president of enrolment management, Indigenous and student services Shawn Chorney shared the latest numbers as of Sept. 11.

The number of domestic students studying at Canadore College, not including at Indigenous institutes, stood at 2,196, or 161 fewer than the planned enrolment of 2,357 for the fall.

International enrolment at the North Bay campus fell 234 students short of the expected 771.

This was buffered, however, by greater-than-expected enrolment in Indigenous institutes — or domestic students, who are largely Indigenous, studying at partner institutes across Ontario — which came in at 378 compared to an expected 200 students.

The college saw its largest increase in international student enrolment at its Greater Toronto Area (GTA) campuses — in partnership with Stanford International College — with 4,652 enrolled, compared to 2,800 planned for the fall.

Overall enrolment, to date, currently stands at 8,506 students for the fall, compared to an expected 6,845.

“Early days, many folks had indicated that enrolment would be down anywhere from 25 to 30 per cent in the domestic markets, but this number represents a really good position for the college and, relative to the Ontario college system, less of a domestic drop than most of our sister colleges,” Chorney explained to the board.

“So I’m not trying to sugarcoat it. I just want to put it in perspective relative to some external factors that we’ve been analyzing.”

Total enrolment includes second career students (13 to date compared to 15 that were expected), Workplace Safety and Insurance Board students (four compared to two), 350 apprenticeship students, and 376 bachelor of nursing students compared to an expected 350.

Overall enrolment is generally on par compared to last fall, Chorney said, or within 50 students for both domestic and international.

Nipissing University, meanwhile, has seen an approximately three per cent decrease, to date, in domestic full-time equivalent student enrolment compared to last year, while international enrolment remains level, interim president Cheryl Sutton was quoted in a statement.

By the end of the 2019-20 year, the university had 4,684.94 full-time equivalent students compared to 4,542.68, as of Oct. 16.

A Nipissing spokesperson said the official fall enrolment “count date” with the province is Nov. 1, meaning the number is subject to change.

“Although this represents a modest overall decline when compared to last year, the university had anticipated and budgeted for growth in both domestic and international enrolment this academic year,” Sutton said.

“We do anticipate some additional domestic undergraduate enrolment in January coinciding with our January intake. In an effort to balance the decline in enrolment, Nipissing continues to invest in student retention strategies through the introduction of programs such as the NU Gateway program, an online support program for first-year students, as well as the hiring of students to serve as online learning partners to provide peer support to students as they transition to online learning.”

The numbers come following an increased move toward online learning by post-secondary institutions and recent changes to international travel.

In March, the federal government closed the border to non-residents to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

An exemption was granted for international students who held, or were approved for, a valid study permit by the time restrictions came into effect March 18.

As of Tuesday, some post-secondary institutions are allowed to reopen to international students who aren’t currently in Canada and have, or been approved for, a study permit.

Chorney said Canadore had to adjust its plans due to COVID-19, with a number of programs deferred to fall 2021 or had their new intake numbers reduced due to physical-distancing requirements.

He said this resulted in planned enrolment dropping to 2,357 from 2,500.

On the rise in Indigenous institute enrolment, Chorney said it could reflect students’ desire to seek opportunities closer to home.

As for international enrolment in North Bay, he said the college planned to expand it dramatically this fall. However, certain programs that are offered face to face, such as aviation or culinary, couldn’t be offered with as many students this year.

Most programs offered in the GTA, however, are online and Chorney said international students can now qualify for a post-graduate work permit without having to physically be in Canada.

This is combined with a large intake of students in Toronto for the spring, many of whom chose to defer to September.

With files from the Local Journalism Initiative

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