Recently, Stefanie Ivan, an enrolment management consultant and Royal Roads associate faculty, and I had an opportunity to identify enrolment trends facing Canadian higher educational institutions for a series of Royal Roads University webinars. In this blog, I will share what we found.
Let me describe our methods. First, we reviewed publicly-available data on the web that included provincial data reports as well as those compiled by Higher Education Strategy Associates, Globe and Mail, Statistics Canada, Canadian Undergraduate Survey Consortium, and the Council of Ministers of Education. Second, we collected comments from our social media network and Canadian colleagues. Third, we received input from students currently enrolled in the Royal Roads University Graduate Certificate in Strategic Enrolment Management.
Here are some of the aggregate enrolment trends we uncovered:
- College enrolments are continuing to grow, mostly due to continued international student enrolment growth. Some declines were reported in the Maritimes. Also, there is a reduction in demand for trades programming due to low unemployment.
- University enrolment is mostly stable or recording slight increases/decreases. Some of this is due to part-time student enrolment increases.
- Students may be shifting away from big urban research universities.
- A slight increase in inter-provincial mobility was experienced in the Maritimes.
- Admission conversion rates are becoming less predictable.
- Completion rates have been impacted in some areas.
- There is a growing interest in a gap year for direct-entry high school students.
And here are the student-type enrolment trends we found:
- Indigenous enrolment and completion rates are lower than rates for non-Indigenous persons. But the Indigenous birthrate is still the fastest among the groups monitored.
- International student enrolments continue to lead enrolment growth.
- Attrition rates are still impacted by the pandemic and high school students who did not seem to be prepared for post-secondary studies.
- The enrolment mix continues to change. Visible minorities, learners with disabilities, and learners with mental health issues are increasing.
- Students want to be primarily on campus, with some hybrid instruction.
- Trust building with communities continues to impact some enrolment.
Here is the Video from the webinar.
We will be doing a follow-up webinar to explore the enrolment strategies that institutions are using to address these challenges. Feel free to share any strategies your institution is using or hoping to implement in the next year, and we will include them when we present on this topic for our follow-up webinar on Tuesday, March 21st. Here is a link to sign-up if you want to listen in or (hopefully!) participate in our discussion.
The times are certainly uncertain and changing.