CUPE Local 1356 Blog

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1356. We have three Collective Agreements as Local 1356, 1356-01, and 1356-02. The membership is comprised of the full-time and part-time workers of York University the Local website is at This Blog will include Local information and information garnered from sources other Universities, Colleges, Post Secondary/Tertiary Education and news sources supplying information.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Maritimes University enrolment declining faster than expected

University enrolment in Canada's three Maritime provinces is dropping sooner and more dramatically than expected thanks to the lure of western oil-patch jobs, a declining population and the end of the recent flood of Ontario students, a new report says.
If current trends continue, the number of university students could fall by 10 per cent or more in the next decade, predicts the report, produced by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission and released yesterday. In the past two school years alone, undergraduate levels have fallen by 4.5 per cent after reaching a peak in 2004-2005.
"It has been quite a shift. We didn't expect the decline to hit us so quickly," said Mireille Duguay, chief executive officer of the commission, an agency created by the Maritime premiers.
A decrease in the university-aged population of the provinces has long been expected, but Ms. Duguay said the effects of that demographic trend have been accelerated by an increase in the number of high-school students choosing not to go to university. "We are seeing students make different choices," she said. "They are leaving the province, they are staying and taking jobs or they are going to college."
An increasing number of students who do go to university are also travelling outside the region, especially to neighbouring Newfoundland, motivated in part by lower tuition fees, the study found. Nova Scotia has taken steps to change that trend with measures such as lower tuition rates for students from the province.
Ms. Duguay said the influx of Ontario students to the area - starting four years ago, when Grade 13 was eliminated and two classes graduated at once - helped to mask the developing trend. Now that the bulge is through the system, the changes are becoming apparent. "The double cohort prevented us from seeing what was really happening," she said.
Peter Halpin, executive director of the Association of Atlantic Universities, said most university leaders are already taking steps to counter the prospect of declining student numbers. "People are working pretty hard to manage the situation. They have invested a lot of time and energy in branding and marketing."
Many of the 17 universities that his organization represents are looking outside the region - and the country - to increase their student numbers, he said.
At Dalhousie University in Halifax, for example, where enrolment has remained steady, fewer than 60 per cent of undergraduates come from the Maritimes and 23 per cent are from Ontario, a spokeswoman said.
Mr. Halpin said the academic community is also focusing on increasing the percentage of local high-school students who go on to university.
That is key, Ms. Duguay said, because another recent study showed that once they graduate, about 90 per cent of university students stay in the region.
Young people between 18 and 24 now account for the highest levels of migration from the Maritimes, she said, with many heading west to jobs in the resource sector.

The Globe and Mail
Wed 27 Jun 2007
Page: A6
Section: National News
Byline: Elizabeth Church


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