UPEI's Student Union says the university needs to give students from outside the province more incentive to come and stay on Prince Edward Island.
The union says right now, too many scholarships are restricted to Islanders. Currently, about 40 per cent of the scholarships offered to first-year students are only for people who are from P.E.I.
It’s frustrating for some people who have come from away, including Emmanuel Mukete, a second-year student.
“Even though we are quite accepted into the community, there’s still some segregation in terms of scholarships,” he said.
Travis Gordon, executive vice-president of the student union said it’s essential to make changes if the school wants to avoid a drop in enrolment.
“We see that there’s going to be over a 20 per cent drop in the number of Islanders graduating from high schools in the next 14 years,” he said. “With that, if we intend to grow as an institution, it’s important to recognize students coming from off-Island.”
UPEI's administration agrees with the union.
Christian Lacroix, VP Academic, says for years, the university has depended on P.E.I. students to populate the campus.
Islanders currently make up 70 per cent of the student body.
Lacroix said UPEI is currently increasing its recruitment efforts outside the province, and changing its scholarship offerings along with it.
“Our changing demographics will basically lead us to develop our scholarship programs even more, to cater to the different populations of students that come here.”
Gordon said getting more students to P.E.I. is just one piece of the puzzle.
He'd like the province to offer students more incentives to keep them here when they graduate.
“When people come to P.E.I. for their education, it’s very clear they’ve made a commitment to studying here for at least four years,” he said. “If we can extend that further, we think it’s a very strong way to have them create roots in P.E.I.”