PEI

UPEI continues to grow — especially the international student population

UPEI has seen another big jump in international students, according to preliminary numbers from the Association of Atlantic Universities.

Overall enrolment increases by 2.6 per cent, but more than 15 per cent for international students

International students make up about 25 per cent of UPEI's student population. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

The number of international students at UPEI continues to grow.

International enrolment rose 15.5 per cent this year, after an almost 13 per cent increase last year, according to numbers from the Association of Atlantic Universities.

Overall growth, including full-time and part-time, graduate and undergraduate, was 2.6 per cent, about the same as it was last year. The overall growth for Nova Scotia universities was 3.6 per cent this year, while New Brunswick saw an overall decline of 0.4 per cent.

UPEI is now roughly made up of 50 per cent Islanders, 25 per cent Canadian students from off Island, and 25 per cent international students, said UPEI registrar Donna Sutton.

'Sustainable and manageable'

"We're trying to grow the university, grow our  student population, but also in a sustainable and manageable way," she said.

"We know our campus can withstand a certain number of students and we're not beyond that threshold."

"We are looking at being relevant, we are looking at being nimble and we are looking at trying to attract students to very specific and unique programs.— UPEI registrar Donna Sutton

Sutton said one of the challenges of a growing student population is finding affordable and adequate housing. A new 260-bed residence will help ease that pressure, but it's not expected to be ready until at least 2020.

Sutton said three per cent growth is a "very reasonable target to achieve." New initiatives, such as the School for Sustainable Design Engineering, the bachelor of science in applied climate change and adaptation, the MBA program in global leadership, and the doctor of psychology launching next September, are helping to attract new students, she said.

"We are looking at being relevant, we are looking at being nimble and we are looking at trying to attract students to very specific and unique programs."

Drop in part-time students

UPEI saw a drop in part-time students this year, but Sutton said that was offset by the increase in full-time enrolments.

She said the federal program that allows full-time students to collect EI, as well as increases in bursaries and awards by the province, make it more attractive for students to attend university full time.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Laura Chapin

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