Experiment fails – University Canada West ends degree programs

B.C.’s first private-sector university has finally given up after a six-year experiment in Victoria.University Canada West was opened in the old Blanshard elementary school in January 2005 by former University of Victoria president David Strong.The school’s mandate was to expand access to university education for students whose schedules or grades would deny them entry to public universities.At the time of its opening, Strong said the need for post-secondary education outpaced the space available, and he envisioned up to 3,000 students and residences on site.Those numbers never materialized. In 2008 the Eminata Group, which operates many private colleges across Canada, took over in 2008, and opened a second campus in Vancouver. “This decision to wind down the degree programs (in Victoria) … was entirely based on the realities of the lower mainland, which has shown extraordinarily positive growth,” said Royden Trainor of Eminata. While the mainland’s campus enrolment has grown to about 500, the Victoria number have continued to dwindle, he said.Closing the Victoria degree programs allows Eminata to focus its investment to support growth and student success, he added.rholmen@vicnews.com