University enrolment up across Canada

OTTAWA, Oct. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - This year there are an additional 38,000 full-time students enrolled in universities across Canada compared to last fall.

"Students recognize the value of higher education and Canada's universities are responding by creating more opportunities for students to start or continue their studies," said Paul Davidson, AUCC president. As a result, there are about 870,000 full-time students enrolled in universities - 733,500 in undergraduate programs and 136,500 in graduate programs - an increase of 29,000 and 9,000 students respectively.

"Students and their parents know higher education leads to better job prospects. In fact, in the last 12 months there have been more than 60,000 new jobs for university graduates, while there were 390,000 fewer jobs for those without higher education," added Paul Davidson. Moreover, jobs for university graduates continue to provide strong premiums. According to the 2006 Census, full-time workers who earned their bachelor's degrees from Canadian universities earned 62 percent more annually than workers who had not completed university.

The economic downturn is one of the key factors driving a 4.1 percent growth in undergraduates programs and a 7.2 percent increase in graduate programs. By continuing to enhance their skills and talents in bachelors, professional and graduate degree programs, these students will be well prepared when the economy begins to recover and they will be able to put their creative and innovative talents to use, both for personal benefit and to help drive economic growth across Canada.

In addition to the recent economic downturn, Canada's shifting demography could soon constrain our longer-term growth prospects. Over the next 20 years, there will be very little growth in the number of people in the traditional working ages of 25 to 64. At the same time, the number of people older than 64 will double. Hence the need to help drive productivity gains by investing in the skills and talents of our graduates.

Immigration will also play an important role in addressing our demographic challenges. Canadian universities are helping by stepping up their recruitment efforts to attract more of the world's best and brightest students. This fall, Canadian universities attracted an additional 7,000 full-time international students to their campuses. Many of these students will remain in Canada after they complete their studies and those that return home will be entrepreneurs, trading partners and ambassadors for Canada throughout their careers abroad.

The enrolment figures were collected in preliminary fall enrolment surveys by the Association of Atlantic Universities, the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities, the Council of Ontario Universities and AUCC.

SOURCE Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

For further information: For further information: Leslie Cole, Assistant Director, Communications, (613) 563-3961 ext. 330, lcole@aucc.ca

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