UPEI officials say the number of applications from first year undergraduate students has increased by more than nine per cent compared to this time last year.

Christian Lacroix

Interim vice-president Christian Lacroix credits a new scholarship program with part of the increase in applications. (CBC)

"So that translates into about 152 additional applications," said Christian Lacroix, interim vice-president academic.

"If we go to all programs, all years of study, that's last weeks number, the total number of applications was up by five per cent."

UPEI officials credit a new scholarship program announced earlier this year as part of the reason for the increase.

The new plan cuts back on some of the larger scholarships to fund a new set of scholarships to be awarded automatically if a student achieves a certain grade average. The idea is to spread the money around to more students, in all years of their undergraduate degree.

Lacroix said it seems to be making the university more competitive.

He cautioned these are application numbers, however, and the actual increase in students won't be known until the fall after all the registrations are complete.

There are four levels of scholarship awards in the new program, from $500 to $3,000 a year, based on a student's average from the previous year.