P.E.I. schools get $1.5M for international student recruitment

Ottawa and the P.E.I. government are providing some help to the University of Prince Edward Island, Holland College and Collège de l'Île so they can recruit more international students.

Governments hope to keep international graduates on P.E.I.

International students make up about a quarter of the UPEI student body. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Ottawa and the P.E.I. government are providing some help to the University of Prince Edward Island, Holland College and Collège de l'Île so they can recruit more international students.

The bulk of the $1.5 million will come from ACOA's Business Development Program and go to UPEI and Holland College.

  • UPEI: $932,068
  • Holland College: $437,175

The province will add a further $176,625 to be split between the three schools.

"We still need highly skilled post-secondary graduates who are ready work in a variety of sectors," said Charlottetown MP Sean Casey in a news release.

"The key is to keep these bright minds engaged and working locally."

UPEI has doubled its number of international students over the last five years, to more than 1,200.

The school's president, Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, said he hopes to see more. 

UPEI president Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz said the university will be expanding its recruiting efforts in India, Mauritius and Brazil. It will also develop programs aimed to get international students into the P.E.I. workforce. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"We need to continue and sustain this effort," said Abd-El-Aziz. "The government money will be able to help us hire the recruiters and be able to send the materials … so it's much needed support."

Abd-El-Aziz said the university is looking to recruit more students from India, Mauritius, and South America. It will also be developing programs and workshops to pair international students with Island employers after graduation. 

Decline in domestic student population

As for Holland College, the funding comes at a good time. Michael O'Grady, vice-president of innovation, enterprise and strategic development, said international recruiting is becoming more important to the school as the domestic student population goes down.

"This year, we have 18.5% of our total student population on P.E.I. international students," O'Grady said. 

Holland College vice-president Michael O'Grady said the funding will be used to bolster international recruiting and combat the decline in the domestic student population. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"If we did not have our international students this year, we would be an institution of under 2,000. This year we're about 2,500."

O'Grady says there's fewer Island high school graduates because of smaller family sizes. 

With the funding, he said the college will be looking to recruit more students from Bermuda and the Bahamas.

There are also about 50 students from Mexico at the college this year. O'Grady said goal is to use part of Wednesday's funding to double that number over the next three years. 

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