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Atlantic Canada universities see hike in international students


Cape Breton University. - File
Cape Breton University saw the largest increase in international students, from 1,982 to 3,436. - Steve Wadden / Communications N.S.

Enrolment at universities in Atlantic Canada is up, largely due to an increase in international students, says a recent report.  

Full-time visa student enrolment increased by 20 per cent, bringing the total to 19,037 students, as Atlantic universities saw an overall four per cent increase in full-time undergraduate and graduate students, the Association of Atlantic Universities said in a preliminary enrolment report released Tuesday. 

Cape Breton University saw the largest increase in international students, from 1,982 to 3,436. Dalhousie University, currently sitting with the highest enrolment of international students in the province with 4,417, saw an increase of nearly 12 per cent. 

“Our universities have understood the demographic challenge facing the region for some time,” Allister Surette, chair of the Association of Atlantic Universities, said. 

“To that end, more institutional time, effort and resources have been committed to student recruitment, especially internationally.” 

Mount Allison University saw the largest increase in international students enrolled at a New Brunswick university, with a 39.3 per cent increase to bring the school’s total enrolment to 255 full-time visa students, while Memorial University in Newfoundland saw an increase of 441 international students, bringing the total enrolment to 3,402 full-time visa students.

In 2017, 94 per cent of international student graduates surveyed by the association said they felt welcomed in Atlantic Canada. Seventy-seven per cent of those surveyed said they would like to work and live in Atlantic Canada after they graduated. 

Full-time undergraduate student enrolment was up at all universities in Atlantic Canada, except for Saint Mary’s University, University of King’s College and University of New Brunswick, which saw a -2.1 per cent, -0.9 per cent and -2.1 per cent decline in enrolment, respectively. 

In Nova Scotia, Cape Breton University saw the largest increase in full-time undergraduate enrolment with a 41.8 per cent increase, while Universite de Sainte-Anne saw a 37.2 per cent increase. 

Full-time graduate student enrolment was also up at all universities in Atlantic Canada, except for Acadia University and Atlantic School of Theology. St. Francis Xavier University saw the largest percentage increase, going from 43 full-time graduate students to 74 full-time graduate students. 

The association reported 67,642 full-time undergrad students and 10,136 graduate students were preliminarily enrolled at universities across Atlantic Canada for the 2019-2020 school year.

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