The University of Victoria is seeing a healthy bump in student enrolment this year, especially in the faculty of engineering.
The university has a 13 per cent increase in new full-time students for the fall semester, or about 520 people. About 4,500 students will experience the campus for the first time this September, out of more than 20,000 total in full- and part-time undergrad and graduate studies.
“This is a banner year. There’s much bigger numbers this year,” said Wendy Joyce, director of UVic undergraduate admissions. “We are seeing a healthy trend.”
Engineering programs have the biggest increase in new students, Joyce said, up 35 per cent. Those numbers should tip that faculty to more than 1,600 students.
Joyce said staff haven’t yet analyzed underlying reasons for this year’s uptick in enrolment, but she noted that UVic aggressively markets itself across Canada and the world. Enrolment is also swayed by external factors, such as the job market and the health of the economy.
UVic enrolment stats show the campus saw a burst of new students in 2009, but that flatlined over the past three years. Comparing fall 2011 and fall 2012, UVic saw virtually no net increase in students.
“At different times we may get more of an influx out of province or more U.S. students depending on the politics happening in the States,” Joyce said. “The unemployment rate is also a factor when people decide when to attend school.”
Any increase in the student body is generally welcome by businesses, landlords and restaurants in the city. UVic’s economic impact report released last year estimated that the campus’s 15,000 full-time students contribute about $177 million per year in direct spending in Greater Victoria.
Camosun College’s Lansdowne and Interurban campuses are on track to see an influx of at least 11,440 students in September, which is on par from last year. The vast majority are from south Vancouver Island and other parts of B.C.
“Camosun is very much a local community college,” noted Joan Yates, Camosun’s vice-president of community engagement.
Like most post-secondary institutions in B.C., Camosun is marketing itself to international students, more than 800 for the upcoming semester. Half are from China, and the remainder split between emerging and large economies – South Korea, Japan, India, Brazil and Mexico.
Camosun is also seeing a healthy contingent of aboriginal students, about 1,025 this year, a 6.5 per cent increase. The college has a goal to have aboriginal students make up at least 10 per cent of its student population.
Royal Roads University has a different ebb and flow of students than UVic and Camosun, and is expecting about 2,500 full-time equivalent students though its blended online and on-campus graduate programs and on-campus undergraduate programs.
RRU started aggressively recruiting international students a few years ago and is starting to see results – 450 for this fall versus 270 last year.
Scenic RRU is continually adding on-campus undergraduate programs similar to a traditional university, but “even when we build this … out to capacity, Royal Roads will still be primarily a graduate school with blended programs,” noted Steve Grundy, RRU vice president, academic and provost.