Enrolment soars at U of M

Enrolment numbers at the University of Manitoba for 2011-12 are only 21 students short of the all-time record.

This year’s first-day enrolment at the U of M was 27,992, a jump from 27,540 last year, and just a few students shy of the all-time record of 28,013, set in 2005. This represents an increase of 1.5 per cent from last year.

“There has been growth in recent years, and we project that that growth will continue,” said John Danakas, director of Marketing Communications at the U of M.

“Although the number of students graduating from Manitoba high schools had been projected to drop, immigration has had a positive impact, and more students are choosing to attend university.”

Part-time enrolment remained unchanged this year, while full-time enrolment increased from 22,847 to 23,257.

Enrolment in University 1 remained approximately the same as last year, at 6,766 students.

Although graduate enrolment experienced a 1.7 per cent drop in enrolment last year, the numbers have recovered greatly this year, going from 3,083 students in 2010 to 3,211 in 2011 — an increase of 4.2 per cent.

“It’s certainly a welcome increase,” Danakas said of the increase in graduate enrolment.

“Grad students contribute to the University of Manitoba as research engine. They help make the research enterprise of the university work and are terribly important to a research-intensive university like the University of Manitoba.”
The largest increase was seen in the Clayton H. Riddell faculty of environment, earth and resources, up by 14.2 per cent.

Norman Halden, dean of the faculty, said that he has seen an increase in class sizes this year as compared to last year.

Enrolment in the faculty is mainly enforced by word of mouth, from student to student, he said. Although there is no one reason why enrolment in a faculty increases, Halden speculated the types of programs in the faculty are very relevant to the issues society faces today and that may fuel student interest.

Other faculties such as arts and science have also seen increases. However, a U of M press release explained that comparisons among departments “should be made with caution, as there have been program and admission changes.”
Despite the increase in enrolment, credit hours have decreased slightly this year by 0.3 percent: from 280,099 in fall 2010 to 279,342 in fall 2011.

International enrolment also increased significantly this year, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Undergraduate enrolment for international students has increased by 16.1 per cent and international graduate enrolment has increased by 17.5 per cent. This year, international students make up 9.4 per cent of the student population, as opposed to 8.3 per cent at this time last year.

“There has been a lot of target recruitment [of international students], and it would be good to think that has been successful,” Dankas said.

By comparison, preliminary numbers showed that the University of Winnipeg saw a 3.6 per cent increase in undergraduate enrolment since last year. The university also saw a surge in applications from aboriginal students, which were up by 24 per cent since last year.

The 27,992 students at the university this fall represent approximately 50 per cent of Manitoba’s post-secondary students overall and around 70 per cent of the province’s full-time university students.

With files from Sarah Petz.